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Sensory System

Hearing

What are some common levels of sound and how do they affect hearing?

Some common levels of sound and their effects on hearing are listed in the following table:

Sound Decibel Level Affects on Hearing
Lowest audible sound 0 None
Rustling leaves 20 None
Quiet library or office 30–40 None
Normal conversation; refrigerator running; light road traffic at a distance 50–60 None
Busy car traffic; vacuum cleaner; noisy restaurant 70 None
Heavy city traffic; subway; shop tools; power lawn mower 80–90 Some damage if continuous for 8 hours or more
Chain saw 100 Some damage if continuous for 2 hours
Rock concert 110–120 Definite risk of permanent hearing loss
Gunshot 140 Immediate danger of hearing loss
Jet engine 150 Immediate danger of hearing loss
Rocket launching pad 160 Hearing loss inevitable


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