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How Loud Is 75 Decibels (dB)? (With Noise Comparison Chart)

Cleaner Vacuuming a Sofa Chair

If you’ve ever wondered how loud certain sounds may be and if they have the potential to ruin your hearing, this article will hopefully answer all your questions. Certain noises are incredibly loud for the human ear and hearing them for too long can lead to temporary or permanent hearing loss. Other sounds may not be as loud, but after an extended amount of time spent listening to them, the same effects of hearing loss can occur. The general rule is that all sounds over 85 decibels harm humans’ ears after some time; therefore, 75 decibels is considered safe. A level of 75 decibels is the average intensity of sound you can most commonly find in an open office or when using a washing machine.

While 75 decibels may not be dangerous, there are certain situations when that can change. Whenever possible, wear hearing protection, especially when working with power tools or near a construction site. To stay safe from any risks and protect your hearing, read about the different noises and how many decibels they carry.

divider 4 How Loud Is 75 Decibels?

Decibels are a unit of measurement for the level or intensity of a particular sound. Humans can hear the average range of sound from 0 to 140 dB; anything above 140 decibels can cause severe pain and damage. Since 75 decibels falls around the middle of that spectrum, there are many everyday situations where you can experience this level of noise. How you experience these 75 decibels will depend on many factors, including distance and exposure time. Indeed, the longer you listen to a specific noise, the more annoying it will become!

Similarly, you may experience a much louder noise when standing right next to it, or it will be quieter the farther you are. Your perception of the sound is what matters, and your perception can drastically change. The most common noises that you experience every day that are equivalent to 75 decibels are

  • An alarm clock
  • Classroom chatter
  • A washing machine
  • Restaurant
  • Busy street
  • A vacuum cleaner
close up of leaves vacuum cleaner
Image By: Julija Kumpinovica, Shutterstock

Noise Comparison Chart

Loud noises can be pretty dangerous when you’re not being careful enough. While you may have thought that going out to a party or a concert is harmless, it causes a certain amount of damage to your hearing after some time. There are ways to better understand the loudness of 75 decibels, and the best way is to compare it to other noises. To better perceive this noise level, we created a chart that outlines the most common everyday scenarios and the intensity of sound they have.

Loudness (dB) Everyday sounds Amount of damage after continuous exposure
10 Breathing  


No hearing loss or risk of damage

30 Whispering
40 Refrigerator hum
60 Normal conversations
70 Dishwasher Sounds that are annoying but without risk of hearing damage
75 Open office noises
80 City traffic
85 Gas-powered lawnmowers Hearing damage can occur after 2 hours of continuous exposure
95 A motorcycle Hearing damage can occur after 50 minutes of continuous exposure
100 A subway train Hearing damage can occur after 15 minutes of continuous exposure
105 A rock concert Hearing damage can occur in less than 5 minutes of continuous exposure
110 Shouting in the ear Hearing damage can occur in less than 2 minutes
120 Plane take-off  

Pain and ear injury

140 Gunshot, firecrackers

How Much Damage Can 75 Decibels Cause?

The least intense level of sound capable of damaging your hearing is 85 decibels. Sounds below 85 decibels— including those at 75 decibels—are generally considered safe for listening. When experiencing sounds below 85 decibels, you don’t need any protection to maintain healthy hearing. The critical factor to consider is exposure time. If you get stuck in traffic around 80 to 85 decibels, at first, there wouldn’t be any risks to your hearing, but as more noise gets involved and you spend a longer time in the traffic than usual, the sound intensity will gradually increase.

the streets of Tokyo
Image Credit: sofi5t, Pixabay

Signs That a Sound Is Too Loud for You

There are many ways to recognize certain sounds or situations that may be too loud for your ears. If you end up in a bar or at an event where you can’t talk to a friend standing 6 feet away without the need to shout, it is too loud in that room, and you may experience mild hearing loss after a particular time. If you experience a ringing noise in your ears that lasts for hours after a party or a night out, it’s a clear sign that you’ve been exposed to an ear-damaging noise intensity.

This damage can increase over time, especially if you continuously expose yourself to loud noises, leading to permanent hearing loss. Other signs of too loud and intense sounds are:

  • Inability to hear others over background noises
  • Raising your voice or shouting for others close to you to hear you
  • You keep moving closer than 3 feet so you can hear others
  • Muffled or dull hearing right after exposure to loud noises
  • Sudden pain in the ears
  • Ringing in the ears that lasts for hours after leaving an event (tinnitus)

divider 4 Final Thoughts

To understand how loud 75 decibels is, you must try to imagine it in an everyday scenario. If you’ve wondered about the loudness of 75 decibels, think of it as the noise in your office on a busy morning or your alarm clock. While these tend to be annoying to most of us, they don’t pose a threat and won’t hurt your hearing.

Featured Image Credit: Jesus Arias, Pexels


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