Noise Sources and Their Effects

Noise Source

Noise Effect

Jet take-off (at 25 meters) 150 Eardrum rupture
Aircraft carrier deck 140 Earphones at high level
Jet take-off (at 100 meters) 130
Thunderclap, live rock music, chain saw 120
Steel mill, riveting, auto horn at 1 meter 110 Human pain threshold
Jet take-off (at 305 meters), outboard motor, power lawn mower, motorcycle, farm tractor, jackhammer, garbage truck
Serious hearing damage
(8 hrs)
Busy urban street, diesel truck, food blender
90 Hearing damage (8 hrs)
Garbage disposal, dishwasher, average factory, freight train
(at 15 meters)


Possible hearing damage
Freeway traffic (at 15 meters), vacuum cleaner 70 Annoying
Conversation in restaurant, office, background music 60 Quiet
Quiet suburb, conversation at home 50 "
Library 40 "
Quiet rural area 30 Very Quiet
Whisper, rustling leaves 20 "
Breathing 10 "
0 Threshold of hearing

SOURCE: Temple University Department of Civil/Environmental Engineering (

Sound Levels and Relative Loudness of Typical Noise Sources
in Indoor and Outdoor Environments

Subjective Loudness (Relative to
70 dB)

Overall Level

Community Noise Levels (Outdoors)

Home and Industry
Noise Levels

12032 times
as loud
Military jet aircraft take-off from aircraft carrier with afterburner at 50 ft (130 dB)Oxygen torch (121 dB)
11016 times
as loud
Turbo-fan aircraft at takeoff power at 200 ft (118 dB)Riveting machine
(110 dB); rock band
(108 - 114 dB)
1008 times
as loud
Very loudBoeing 707 or DC-8 aircraft at one nautical mile (6080 ft) before landing (106 dB); jet flyover at 1000 feet (103 dB); Bell J-2A helicopter at 100 ft (100 dB)
904 times
as loud
Boeing 737 or DC-9 aircraft at one nautical mile (6080 ft) before landing (97 dB); power mower (96 dB); motorcycle at 25 ft (90 dB)Newspaper press (97 dB)
802 times
as loud
Car wash at 20 ft (89 dB); propeller plane flyover at 1000 ft (88 dB); diesel truck 40 mph at 50 ft (84 dB); diesel train at 45 mph at 100 ft (83 dB)Food blender (88 dB); milling machine (85 dB); garbage disposal (80 dB)
High urban ambient sound
(80 dB); passenger car at
65 mph at 25 ft (77 dB);
freeway at 50 ft from pavement edge 10 a.m. (76 dB)
Living room music (76 dB); radio or TV-audio, vacuum cleaner (70 dB)
60Half as
Air conditioning unit at 100 ft (60 dB)Cash register at 10 ft (65-70 dB); electric typewriter at 10 ft (64 dB); dishwasher (rinse) at 10 ft (60 dB); conversation (60 dB)
as loud
QuietLarge transformers at 100 ft (50 dB)
40Bird calls (44 dB); lowest limit of urban ambient sound (40 dB)
10Just audible
0Threshold of hearing

SOURCE: Table B.1, from Federal Agency Review of Selected Airport Noise Analysis Issues, Federal Interagency Committee on Noise (August 1992). Source of the information is attributed to Outdoor Noise and the Metropolitan Environment, M.C. Branch et al., Department of City Planning, City of Los Angeles, 1970.