Posted on Tuesday, September 22, 2015

How to Determine Decibel Level

decibel symbol

A decibel isn't just a convenient way to measure sound, but a tool that could come in handy in our everyday lives. Using the decibel scale to determine if a sound is going to hurt your ears isn't as easy as knowing that the higher the number of decibels the more damage the sound can do to your hearing. That's because you don't have an automatic sensor that tells you what decibel level a sound is at. No worries. There's an app for that.

Noise pollution is a feature of our increasingly crowded world and many people have already experienced dangerous hearing conditions, so how can you tell if you're being exposed to sounds that are too loud? It’s not as easy as you might suspect. There is no monitor in your head that says, “dangerous level of decibels”, and none on gym equipment, work tools, or lawnmowers. But a good place to start is learning what a dangerous level of noise is. And there are resources online to help acquaint yourself with hazardous noise levels. For a quick reference, the average conversation between two people tunes in at about 60 dB. A motorcycle ramps the sound up to about 75 dB—this exposure most likely wouldn’t damage hearing unless it is for an extended period of time. The highest setting on your iPod or other personal listening device can hover between 105 to 120 dB. These levels are dangerous and can damage hearing. According to USA Today, “France, the government has set a limit of 100 decibels in MP3 players, and Apple has made adjustments.”

Not an expert at decibels after this one blog post? Okay. Here's another explanation of decibels that might make things clearer. Or not.

Hmm, let's try to simplify this even more. An even easier way to figure out decibels is to use an app. There are many apps available that can help determine sound level, but here are some of the more popular ones.


Decibel 10
Decibel Meter
Multi Measures HD

If you'd like to learn more, see your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

©2011. American Hearing Aid Associates 225 Wilmington - West Chester Pike, Suite 300 Chadds Ford, PA 19317888.575.2511
  • Disclaimer
  • About