Noise Sources and Their Loudness Values (Comparison Chart)

Noise Sources and Their Loudness Values (Comparison Chart) -- Here goes a decent list of noise sources and their corresponding sound levels (Decibels). I was prompted to find this comparison chart while I was writing the list of dangerous toys, where part of it is all about sound emitting toys.

As bonuses, I will also be sharing other charts including the following: Daily permissible noise level exposure, Perceptions of Increases in Decibel Level and Sound Levels of Music.
As you may know, the accepted standard "to minimize hearing risk is based on an exposure to 85 dB (Decibels) for a maximum limit of eight hours per day" ( If you are exposed to noise sources with excessive number of hours, you will be bearing the risk of losing your hearing or at least endure damages, as time pass by.

Here goes the chart of noise sources and their corresponding decibels (noise) and permissible noise exposure.
Environmental Noise
Weakest sound heard 0dB
Whisper Quiet Library at
Normal conversation at 3' 60-65dB
Telephone dial tone 80dB
City Traffic (inside car) 85dB
Train whistle at 500',
Truck Traffic
Jackhammer at 50' 95dB
Subway train at 200' 95dB
at which sustained exposure may result in hearing loss
- 95dB
Hand Drill 98dB
Power mower at 3' 107dB
Snowmobile, Motorcycle 100dB
Power saw at 3' 110dB
Sandblasting, Loud Rock
Pneumatic riveter at 4' 125d
Even short term exposure can cause permanent damage -
Loudest recommended exposure WITH hearing

Jet engine at 100' 140dB
12 Gauge Shotgun Blast 165dB
Death of hearing tissue 180dB
Loudest sound possible 194dB

OSHA Daily Permissible Noise Level Exposure
Hours per day Sound level
8 90dB
6 92dB
4 95dB
3 97dB
2 100dB
1.5 102dB
1 105dB
.5 110dB
.25 or less 115dB

NIOSH Daily Permissible Noise Level Exposure
Hours per day Sound level
8 85dBA
6 86dBA
4 88dBA
3 89dBA
2 90dBA
1.5 92dBA
1 94dBA
.5 97dBA
.25 or less 100dBA
0 112dBA

Perceptions of Increases in Decibel Level
Imperceptible Change 1dB
 Barely Perceptible
Clearly Noticeable Change 5dB
About Twice as Loud 10dB
About Four Times as Loud 20dB

Sound Levels of Music
Normal piano practice 60 -70dB
Fortissimo Singer, 3' 70dB
Chamber music, small auditorium 75 - 85dB
Piano Fortissimo 84 - 103dB
Violin 82 - 92dB
Cello 85 -111dB
Oboe 95-112dB
Flute  92 -103dB
Piccolo 90 -106dB
Clarinet 85 - 114dB
French horn 90 - 106dB
Trombone 85 - 114dB
Tympani & bass drum 106dB
Walkman on 5/10 94dB
Symphonic music peak 120 - 137dB
Amplifier, rock, 4-6' 120dB
Rock music peak 150dB

Noise and its seemingly unnoticeable effects is a slow killer of hearing ability. Many of what we hear around us do not seem to pose any threat but by scientific measurement, they actually do. I hope the charts above could be of valuable use for your daily chores, indoor and outdoor.

OSHA - Occupational Safety and Health Administration
NIOSH - National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health



  1. Thanks for sharing this. We all too often ignore the noise around us, never thinking about the potential damage they can do to our sense of hearing.

  2. Woohh, I learned something new cool data today. Bottomline, stay away from too much noise.

  3. Interesting! This was taken up in an OSH seminar I attended several years ago. But this post is very detailed. :) Thanks for the additional info.

  4. Thanks for sharing this guide, this is a big help so we could avoid what gadget and instrument could harm us.

  5. very educational post! speaking of noise, we were in a cultural presentation of the Navajos, the Filipino community was invited to perform.. during the whole celeb, you'd feel the Filipino culture.. because of the noise! Lol!

  6. Interesting subject I will use this info during my events thanks

  7. maybe i have to lessen down the volume of my guitar amplifier. cause I really like it loud. \m/

  8. As an architecture, this is really helpful as we also need to consider the sound aspects in our design.. that's why the walls in cinemas and theaters are very different.. it all comes down to acoustics.. :)


    - Justin -
    The World According To Me

  9. In our HR Development 5, class, we also tackled this kind of effect. Though we based it on the working environment of employees.

  10. Great post here. I never thought that noise has this kind of sources and levels. Hahahaha...nice read indeed.

  11. oh! now I came to know that aloud rock guitar has much higher noise than a plane ready to take-off; that's why we should really avoid going to too much rock concerts.

  12. A well-presented information. Learned much from it. We can't stop others from others from creating damaging noises but at least we have now the knowledge and ways on how we can cope with these noise.

  13. I have a lil hearing problems and this post helped me what are the materials that can possibly cause damage and can be avoided

  14. Look, how informative! During weekends, I am always exposed to electric guitars with amplifier.

  15. I keep on telling my kids to limit their usage of headsets/earphones when they listen to music. I have to reiterate the risks of exposing their eardrums to loud sounds. I just hope they listen to me. :(

  16. Been doing some research my self about this kind of information: decibels and such. Great information you got in here brother.

  17. People should be aware of this information. They might be doing harm to their sense of hearing and they don't know it.

  18. Wow! Thanks Bro, I shared your post to my brother who is currently working in Dubai as a musician. He's playing as a bass guitarist, so I bet he need to know this fact.

  19. we can never be too careful with our senses... with our hearing, we should always stay away to very loud noise that can have permanent damage to them. this info is a great help. Yahweh bless.