Levels of Common Quiet and Loud Noises

loud noises

How Loud are the Everyday Noises We Hear?

It can be very difficult to determine how “loud” a noise that you hear really is. From the drop of a pin to the roar of a lion, sounds vary so much. It’s almost impossible to to show where on a decibel scale to rate a sound because it’s so rare to come across a set scale. We want to tell you about quiet noises and loud noises but more importantly how they can affect your hearing over time.

How Much Sound Is Too Much?

Sounds like breathing, air conditioning or your dish washer aren’t going to damage your hearing. These sounds range from between 10 and 70 decibels and you won’t experience any hearing damage until about 85 decibels. Even at 85 decibels, sound won’t start to cause damage until after continuous exposure for over 8 hours. Once you get up to around 110 decibels, exposure becomes unsafe after just a minute. Remember that our soundproof curtains block 26 dB, as a point of reference.

Everyday Noises that Won’t Hurt

Here’s a reference for some of the everyday noises you hear that won’t cause hearing damage. We don’t want you to think that everything you hear is going to be harmful. Normal breathing is measured at about 10 decibels, whispering is about 30 decibels and a normal conversation comes in at 60 decibels.

If you take the free way to work, you’ll experience a noise level of around 60 decibels from the combination of car horns and engines. For those of you who work in large office buildings, the chatter and other noises you hear are about 50 decibels. If you have a lawn service come to this office and can hear that through your window, it’s between 65 and 95 decibels. Read about these Soundproofing Curtains For Offices if outside noises are disturbing you while you work.


loud noises

Here’s an infographic to give you a better idea of how loud certain sounds are.

Everyday Noises that Could be Too Loud

While most everyday noises are safe for you to hear for extended periods of time, other everyday sounds aren’t.

For any new parents reading this, your baby’s cry can be around 110 decibels which, as stated before, can be damaging to your hearing after a minute or so. If you’re a dog parent, be careful how close you put a squeaky toy to your ear when you squeeze it. That’s also around 110 decibels when it’s right next to your ear.

If you live in a city where the subway is your main mode of transportation, you’ll experience noise levels between 90 decibels and 115 decibels. For those who drive to work you might be listening to the radio and depending on how loud you like your music or talk show, it can be 112 decibels on high. Also, when an impatient driver honks at you during your commute, they’re exposing themselves and you to 110 decibels of noise.

Protecting Yourself from Loud Noise

One of the best ways to protect yourself from loud noises when you’re out and about is to wear earplugs if you know you’ll be in an unsafely loud environment. For example, I’m not ashamed to admit that I wear earplugs at concerts. It probably looks funny to other people, but I can still hear the music pretty well and I’m protecting myself from unnecessary hearing damage. Some concerts are 140 decibels or louder and exposure to sound this loud just once can cause permanent hearing loss.

For the everyday sounds that aren’t loud enough to cause hearing damage but are loud enough to annoy you, try using white noise machine to mask the sounds.

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In Conclusion – Try To Avoid Loud Noises

A lot of everyday noises are safe for you to regularly be exposed to, but definitely try to avoid the louder ones. No one wants to be 30 years old wearing a hearing aid because they didn’t make an effort to protect their ears.

I’m grateful now for how much my mom warned me about going to loud concerts even though I used to find her warnings a little annoying. However, I did my research and educated my self on what exposure could be damaging my hearing and have made efforts to avoid it.

For more information, the Center for Hearing and Communication provides detailed list of common environmental noise levels.

2 thoughts on “Levels of Common Quiet and Loud Noises

  1. wpeek says:

    Thanks for the question Brodey. The effectiveness of the garage door insulation will depend on a number of factors, primarily how the garage is connected to the house. If there is exterior noise passing through the garage door, then into the home, then insulating the door may help. Your best bet may be to add sound insulation over the interior door, since it would have a smaller surface area and be more cost-effective.

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