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Decibels Explained

Decibels Explained

Understanding decibels (dB)

What is a decibel (dB)

A unit used to measure the intensity of a sound or the power level of an electrical signal by comparing it with a given level on a logarithmic scale.
(in general use) a degree of loudness.
“his voice went up several decibels.”

What is the decibel scale?

The human ear is a highly versatile and unique hearing device. It has a clever in-built mechanism that reduces its sensitivity as the sound level rises. It also has the remarkable ability to handle an enormous range of sound power levels. It can hear the sound of a pin dropping close-by as well as the roar of a jet engine far away.

 

Noise Measurement Units

When you measure noise levels with a sound level meter, you measure the intensity of noise called decibel units (dB).

The basic rules for working with decibels

Every 3dB change represents a doubling or halving of sound energy

Change in dB Change in sound energy
3 dB increase sound energy is doubled
3 dB decrease sound energy is halved
10 dB increase sound energy is increased by a factor of 10
10 dB decrease sound energy is decreased by a factor of 10
20 dB increase sound energy is increased by a factor of 100
20 dB decrease sound energy is decreased by a factor of 100

For every three decibels, the noise level is halved. When we are looking at the performance of soundproofing products for every three dB of noise reduction, you are halving the amount of sound.

Noise reduction figures displayed on products and soundproofing systems

When looking at soundproofing solutions, it is important to remember that when you are analysing airborne sound reduction, the higher the value, the better the product or system performs. When looking at impact sound reduction figures, the lower the number, the better the product or system performs.

A difference of three decibels can mean a 50% change in the noise level reduction.

For more help on understanding decibels or anything else soundproofing related, talk to one of the team, call 01423 339163. Alternatively, please send us your enquiry.

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