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How Loud Is 100 Decibels (dB)? (With Noise Comparison Chart)

man riding a motorcycle

The volume of sounds is measured in decibels. However, most people don’t know how loud different decibel ratings are. When you’re trying to make a purchase, this confusion makes the decibel ratings a bit useless. Simply put, 100 decibels are about how loud a nightclub is. This sound level is considered very loud and possibly damaging to human hearing.

Other sounds usually around 100 dB are jets taking off, a power lawn mower, a motorcycle, a jet flyover, and farm tractors.

If you’re working with a machine that is 100 dB, then you’ll need to wear hearing protection. Anything over 85 dB is considered harmful to human hearing, so 100 dB can easily cause hearing damage.

divider 4 Decibel Comparison Chart

0 dB The quietest sound the human ear can pick up without any hearing damage
10 dB Breathing
20 dB A quiet wind
30 dB Rural area
40 dB Bird song
50 dB Quiet conversation at home
60 dB Conversation in a restaurant
70 dB TV audio or radio; vacuum cleaner
80 dB Dishwasher, garbage disposal, and other appliances
90 dB Power mower
100 dB Jet takeoff, motorcycles, and jackhammers
110 dB Average human pain threshold. Live rock music, steel mill, and very heavy equipment
120 dB Thunderclap, oxygen torch
130 dB Military-grade aircraft
140 dB Aircraft carrier deck
150 dB Eardrum rupture
jet engine
Image By: WikimediaImages, Pixabay

Is 100 dB Too Loud?

Yes. Over an extended period, 100 dB is too loud. It can cause hearing loss. Therefore, if you’re working with machines that reach this sound rating, you should wear hearing protection. Using a meter to determine how loud your working location is can help determine if you need protection. Any sound over 85 dB requires hearing protection if you’re exposed to it regularly.

However, 120 dB is considered the minimum for instant hearing damage. Therefore, a second of 100 dB of sound won’t cause hearing damage. Still, it might if you’re exposed to it for a few minutes. We highly recommend wearing hearing protection if you’re regularly exposed to this noise level.

How Far Away Can 100 Decibels Be Heard?

Simply put, each time you double your distance from the sound, it decreases by 6 decibels. Therefore, a 100 dB sound could be heard as far as 16 meters away. However, that’s assuming there are no other sounds that could overpower it and usually, different sounds are around. Therefore, the distance will rarely actually be this far.

For instance, an urban community’s lowest ambient noise level is 30 dB. Therefore, the 100 dB sound won’t reach quite as far in these areas before it joins the city drone. Of course, rural areas are quieter, but they are often still riddled with sounds like birds and the wind.

divider 4 Conclusion

100 dB of sound is about the same as a nightclub, a motorcycle (when you’re right next to it), or a jackhammer. This amount of sound can be overpowering and cause hearing damage if you’re exposed for a long time. Therefore, hearing protection is recommended. However, this amount of sound will not instantly damage your hearing.

For this reason, we highly recommend wearing hearing protection if you’re around equipment near this sound level. Anything near 100 dB is too loud for regular exposure.

Featured Image Credit: Quintin Gellar, Pexels


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