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Environmental Noise Levels

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the maximum exposure time at 85 dBA is eight hours.

At 110 dBA, the maximum exposure time is one minute and 29 seconds. If you must be exposed to noise, it is recommended that you limit the exposure time and/or wear hearing protection.

A three dBA increase doubles the amount of noise, and halves the recommended amount of exposure time.

Sound Levels

Decibels (dB) are most commonly used as a measure of sound level, but they are also used in electronics, signals and communications.

Sound is a variation in pressure detectable by the ear, whereas noise is undesired sound, or any sound which causes disturbance or annoyance to the recipient. The unit used to describe sound wave intensity is the bel, named after the inventor Alexander Graham Bell. The human ear is sensitive enough to detect changes of as little as 1/10 of a bel, and so sound intensity levels are described in decibels.

A sound wave’s intensity is the average amount of energy transmitted per unit time through a unit area in a specified direction. The sound intensity level, I, in decibels is 10 times the logarithm of the ratio of the intensity of a sound wave to a reference intensity.

Point of Reference

Points of Reference *measured in dBA or decibels:

  • 0 The softest sound a person can hear with normal hearing
  • 10 normal breathing
  • 20 whispering at 5 feet
  • 30 soft whisper
  • 50 rainfall
  • 60 normal conversation
  • 110 shouting in ear
  • 120 thunder

How loud is too loud?

Continued exposure to noise above 85 dBA (adjusted decibels) over time will cause hearing loss. The volume (dBA) and the length of exposure to the sound will tell you how harmful the noise is.

In general, the louder the noise, the less time required before hearing loss will occur.

E2 Specialist Consultants
July 22 at 5:05pm
One of our office-based consultants is hard at work on the SBEM calculation for a commercial new build in Bristol, Avon. You can get yourself an SBEM quote from our website: https://www.e2consultants.co.uk/Get-A-Quote/SBEM_Calculations

E2 Consultants Delivering compliance solutions for Architects & Developers    Head Office E2 HOUSE, South Park Way, Wakefield 41 Business Park, WF2 0XJ    Questions? Call: 0800 043 8100

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