How loud is loud

The loudness of sound is measured in decibels.

On the decibel scale, the smallest audible sound is 0 dB. A sound that is 10 times more powerful would be measured at 10 dB. A sound that is 100 times more powerful than total silence would be 20 dB. A sound that is 1,000 louder than silence would be measured at 30 dB.

The professionals at Advanced Hearing Aid Clinic and Advanced Hearing and Balance Institute recommend that earplugs are used when an individual is exposed to sound levels of 85 dB and above.

Near-total Silence 0 dB
Quiet Whisper 15 dB
Ticking Watch 20 dB
Quiet Library 30 dB
Average Whisper 30 dB
Hum of a Refrigerator 40 dB
Quiet Room 40 dB
Moderate Rainfall 50 dB
Normal Conversation 60 dB
Dishwasher 60 dB
Sewing Machine 60 dB
Washing Machine 70 dB
Vacuum Cleaner 70 dB
Alarm Clock (two feet away) 80 dB
Busy Street 80 dB
Average Traffic 85 dB
Lawnmower 90 dB
Shop Tools 90 dB
Blow Dryer 100 dB
Snowmobile 100 dB
Chainsaw 105 dB
Base Drum Rolls 105 dB
Rock Music (Stereo) 110 dB
Model Airplane 110 dB
Screaming Child 110 dB
Car Horn 110 dB
Loud Thunder 120 dB
Rock Concert 120 dB
Car Stereo at Near Full Volume 120 dB
Jet of a Commercial Plane 130 dB
Gunshot of Firecracker 140 dB
Air Raid Siren 140 dB
Peak of Rock Music 150 dB

The above sound levels are approximations. The distance from the source of the sound will affect the measurements. Unless indicated, the sound levels were measured while standing near to the source of the sound.