What is a Decibel (dB)?


Have you ever wondered what a decibel is and how exactly it is relevant to you? The decibel is actually a unit used to measure the intensity of a sound. It is abbreviated “dB.”  Explaining the decibel scale is a bit complicated because the human ear is so complex, as explained in our blog The Science Behind Sound.

The smallest sound our ears can register is 0 dB, which is near total silence. A sound 10 times more powerful than 0 dB is 10 dB. A sound 100 times more powerful than 0 dB is 20 dB. A sound 1,000 times more powerful than 0 dB is 30 dB, and so on. Below we have provided a scale of common sounds and their decibel rankings if standing near the source of the sound. The further away from a sound you are, the less intense it is.

0 dB – faintest audible sound (near total silence)

20 dB – a whisper

30 dB – quiet residence

60 dB – normal conversation

90 dB – a lawnmower

100 dB – loud crowd noise or accelerating motorcycle

110 dB – a car horn

120 dB – a rock concert or a jet engine

120 dB – a gunshot or firecracker

According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep is dramatically increased when background noise is reduced to 30-40 dB. The AcousticCurtainTM was designed to meet those standards in order to increase sleep quality. The materials we use are intended to absorb and reflect sound to effectively reduce noise through a window or door by 90% when properly installed.