SoundSmart in Vancouver

The City of Vancouver has a program called SoundSmart that provides comprehensive urban noise information, including:

In our daily lives we are rarely exposed to sound levels near either end of our huge (0 to 130 dBA) audible range. Typically we encounter noise levels between about 20 and 30 dBA (a faint whisper or night-time background noise in a quiet suburban bedroom) and 100 dBA (unmuffled motorcycle or jackhammer operating nearby). Typical noise levels experienced include:
  • 40 to 50 dBA in a general office situation.
  • 60 dBA when talking normally to someone 1 to 2 m away.
  • 65 to 75 dBA when riding in a car at highway speeds.
  • 85 to 95 dBA while cutting the grass with power mower.
Roughly speaking, each 10 dBA increase in sound level corresponds to a “doubling of subjective loudness” so that, for example, jackhammer noise at 110 dBA would typically be judged to be 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 16 times as loud as the inside of a car at 70 dBA.

In other words, I’m 64 times more likely to go crazy from noise today than I was on Sunday.


Derek Martin's picture
Derek Martin on March 23, 2006 - 18:05 Permalink

Want to borrow my decibel meter?