What’s the loudest sound and how is sound measured?
Sound is the the vibration of air molecules that propagate in a wave from a source. These are commonly called “sound waves”. They can travel through air, water and even solid objects. Sound however, cannot travel in a vacuum — such as space. This is because there is no medium (air molecules) for sound to travel through.
How Is Sound Measured?
Sound can be measured or identified in a few different ways. The most common methods are by frequency, amplitude, pressure level and decibels. The most commonly used, and for the purpose of determining the loudest sounds, we’re going to focus on the decibel.
What Is A Decibel?
The decibel (dB) is a unit of measurement to gauge the intensity of a sound or noise. It’s a logarithmic unit which means that you cannot add and subtract dB like regular numbers. For example, an increase of 3 dB is a doubling of the “strength” or power of the sound, an increase of 10 dB means that the sound is 10x as loud; i.e., 70 dB is 10 times as loud as 60 dB. As you increase the numbers, the sound gets exponentially louder.
So what are the loudest sounds? We’ve provided a helpful infographic below with some interesting facts and statistics. It also provides some valuable tidbits about hearing loss when exposed to certain dB levels. Don’t take your hearing health lightly.
-Z Infographic source