To properly monitor sound levels in your home or rental, we first need to know what we mean with sound level. This article will describe how we measure sound, what effects high sound levels have on us, and give examples for good thresholds to have in your property.
How do we measure sound?
Sound, or noise, is measured in Decibel (dB). This logarithmic scale is a good way for us to describe the level of sound exposed to us. We can easily distinguish between noises we perceive as loud or quiet.
There's a limit to how low sounds humans can hear and this is where the 0 dB threshold has been set.
This is why we usually don't see sound graphs as low as 0 dB since most sounds below 20 dB are not noticeable by humans.
Below is a good presentation that can give you a quick insight into the different sound levels.
The noise monitoring graph
You can see the noise levels represented in a graph, for each device in your property. When the Minut records sound in a quiet room, the levels are around 35 dB. This is, for the human ear, a quiet surrounding. That is why the sound graph begins at 30dB in the app. Since the dB scale is logarithmic this gives you very precise measurements for levels higher than 40dB, when there is relevant noise detected.
The dashed red line represents the sound threshold you've set for noise monitoring. Noise over this line will send you a notification. You can see the average noise level as a solid black line, while the grey areas represent maximum and minimum values.
If you are unsure of what thresholds to use to properly monitor your property, here are some guidelines.
Normal conversation: 50-60 dB
Dinner party or loud TV: 60-70 dB
Party: 70-80 dB
Loud party: 80-90 dB
What effects does loud noise have on us?
Short term exposure to loud noise can cause a temporary change in hearing (your ears may feel stuffed up) or a ringing in your ears (tinnitus). These short-term problems may go away within a few minutes or hours after leaving the noise. However, repeated exposure to loud noise can lead to permanent tinnitus and/or hearing loss.
Loud noise can create physical and psychological stress, reduce productivity, interfere with communication and concentration. The effects of noise-induced hearing loss can be profound, limiting your ability to hear high-frequency sounds, understand speech, and seriously impairing your ability to communicate.