Volume and sound pressure

The physical measure for the intensity of sound is the sound pressure level. The unit of measurement is decibel (dB). Noises at the lower end of the scale are barely audible. Volumes of about 50 dB are perceived as pleasant. The pain threshold is reached at around 120-140 dB.


0 to 40 dB: Quiet

40 to 70 dB: Pleasant/ moderate

70 to 80 dB: Loud

80 to 110 dB: Very loud/ unpleasant

110 dB to 140 dB: Extremely loud

120 to 140 dB: Pain threshold


Intensity of sounds:

140 dB: Firecrackers in the immediate vicinity

130 dB: Aircraft take-off

120 dB: Siren

110 dB: Pop/ Rock Concert

90 dB: Hairdryer/ full restaurant

80 dB: Truck

70 dB: City traffic

60 dB: Conversation/ talk

50 dB: Light rain

40 dB: Refrigerator

30 dB: Whisper

20 dB: Rustling leaves

10 dB: Quiet breathing

Hearing impairment and hearing loss

When can noise damage our hearing?

If your hearing is regularly exposed to sounds above 85 dB for more than 40 hours a week, i.e. by frequently listening to loud music or working on a construction site without hearing protection, chronic noise-induced hearing loss can occur. Above 120 dB, hearing damage is possible even through short exposure.

What is the reason for this?

Hearing loss is often caused by damage to the sensory cells in the inner ear. Acoustic stimuli are then no longer properly transmitted to the brain. Aging, noise and illness can be the cause. In addition, the transmission of sound from the outer and middle ear to the inner ear can be impaired, if, for instance, the eardrum is damaged.

What can I do about it?

Give your ears a break now and then. Continuous everyday noise, ambient sound and music don’t allow the fine sensory cells in the inner ear to recover. Silence and quiet moments allow for the necessary balance.