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The decibel which is normally abbreviated dBA is the unit used to measure the intensity of a sound. The human ear is incredibly sensitive, a person's ears can distinguish between wide ranging sounds such brushing their fingers on a notepad to the loudest explosion or Jet aircraft. To put these differences into perspective a jet aircraft is 1,000,000,000,000 times louder than the quietest audible sound.

Looking on the decibel decibel scale, the smallest audible sound which is near silence registers at 0 dB. An increase of 10 decibels equates to a 10 fold increase in noise to your ear.

Important - Generators are measured and compared within the industry @ 7 metres. To comply with EEC regulations all generators have to be marked in LWA this is a different measurement of sound which is taken from a different distance. for an example a quiet Honda EU20i is rated at its lowest at 52 dBA @ 7 metres on the LWA scale this would equate to approximately 88 decibels. Please beware of this as all products have LWA marked on them, many do not have the industry rated @ 7 metres level.

Here are some common sounds and their decibel ratings:

190 dBA Heavy weapons, 10m behind the weapon (maximum level)
180 dBA Toy pistol fired close to ear (maximum level)
170 dBA Slap on the ear, fire cracker explodes on shoulder, small arms at a distance of 50cm (maximum level)
160 dBA Hammer stroke on brass tubing or steel plate at 1m distance
150 dBA Hammer stroke in a smithy at 5m distance (maximum level)
130 dBA Loud hand clapping at 1m distance (maximum level)
120 dBA Whistle at 1m distance, test run of a jet at 15m distance
Threshold of pain, above this fast-acting hearing damage in short action is possible
115 dBA Take-off sound of planes at 10m distance
110 dBA Siren at 10m distance, frequent sound level in discotheques and close to loudspeakers at rock concerts, violin close to the ear of an orchestra musicians (maximum level)
105 dBA Chain saw at 1 m distance, banging car door at 1m distance (maximum level), racing car at 40m distance, possible level withmusic head phones
100 dBA Frequent level with music via head phones, jack hammer at 10m distance
95 dBA Loud crying, hand circular saw at 1m distance
90 dBA Petrol Lawnmower
85 dBA 2-stroke chain-saw at 10m distance, loud WC flush at 1m distance
80 dBA Very loud traffic noise of passing lorries at 7.5m distance, high traffic on an expressway at 25m distance
75 dBA Passing car at 7.5m distance, un-silenced wood shredder at 10m distance
70 dBA Level close to a main road by day, quiet hair dryer at 1m distance to ear
65 dBA Normal Conversation
60 dBA
55 dBA Low volume of radio or TV at 1 m distance, noisy vacuum cleaner at 10 m distance
50 dBA Refrigerator at 1m distance, bird twitter outside at 15 m distance
45 dBA Noise of normal living; talking, or radio in the background
35 dBA Very quiet room fan at low speed at 1m distance
25 dBA Sound of breathing at 1m distance
0 dBA Auditory threshold

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