Decibel Levels in Manufacturing

The Decibel (dB) is a unit used to measure the intensity of sound. Decibel levels are a little tricky as human ears are incredibly sensitive. Our ears can hear everything from a gnat flying by your ear to to very loud jet engines. The range of sound level is very vast. Manufacturing environments can be loud and expose employees to harmful noise levels. You can see some interesting manufacturing noise exposure data from the CDC, here.

On the decibel scale, the smallest audible sound (near total silence) is 0 dB. A sound 10 times more powerful is 10 dB. A sound 100 times more powerful than near total silence is 20 dB. A sound 1,000 times more powerful than near total silence is 30 dB. Here are some common sounds and their decibel ratings:

Experience tells us that many things distance affects the intensity of sound. Noise levels can be due to product design, proximity to the noise, frequency of processes, quantity of noise producing machines or processes. Exposure to high noise levels can be harmful. Extended length of exposure to sound levels above above 80 dB can begin hearing loss. If you feel you have to raise the level of your voice to be heard then you can assume that you are in an environment of 85 or greater dB. OSHA Standard 29 CFR-1910.95 (a) shows the Maximum Allowable Noise Exposure.

EXAIR engineers our products with safety and exposure in mind and we manufacture most every product to be under any threshold where hearing protection is required. If any product (like our largest Super Air Nozzles) is above the threshold, EXAIR is clear that hearing protection is needed. Please visit and view how our Intelligent Compressed Air Products can help your quality of work atmosphere. If you have any questions regarding our products or for advice as to what products can improve the safety of your work environment, please contact any one of our Application Engineers.

Eric Kuhnash
Application Engineer
Twitter: Twitter: @EXAIR_EK

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