General Estimates of Work-Related Noises - Long Description

2001
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2001-104

What’s a dB?

Sound intensity is measured in decibels (dB). Our range of hearing starts at 0 dB and is considered safe up to 70 dB. Over and above that level it is hazardous and can result in permanent hearing damage.

Some noises rated in decibels (dB):

  • 30 dB – WHisper
  • 60 dB – Normal Conversation
  • 80 dB – Ringing Telephone
  • ≥85 dB – May cause hearing loss
  • 90 dB – Hair dryer/Power lawn mower
  • 93 dB – Belt Sander
  • 96 dB – Tractor
  • 98 dB – Hand Drill
  • 103 dB – Impact Wrench
  • 105 dB – Bulldozer, Spray painter
  • 108 dB – Continuous miner
  • 110 dB – Chain saw
  • 114 dB – Hammer drill
  • 119 dB – Pneumatic percussion drill
  • 120 dB – Ambulance siren
  • 140 dB – Jet engine at takeoff
  • 165 dB – 12-Gauge shotgun
  • 180 dB – Rocket launch
  • 194 dB – Loudest tone possible

For more information on occupational hearing loss or other work-related injuries or illnesses contact the National Institute for Occupational SAfety and Health (NIOSH) at 1-800-35-NIOSH.

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Page last reviewed: June 6, 2014
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