Noise Exposure Limits

The amount of hearing loss is dependent on the noise level and duration. Based on this a number of limits were set out in 1970 by the Ocupational Safety and Health Act for companies working for the US government.

Limiting Daily Exposure Time [hours]Sound Pressure Level [dB(A)]
890
692
495
397
2100
1.5102
1105
0.5110
<0.25115

It should be noted that these limits were designed to protect only 85% of those exposed, with financial compensation for the rest.


A set of suggested daily noise exposure limits for nonoccupational noise are:

Limiting Daily Exposure Time [hours]Sound Pressure Level [dB(A)]
1670
875
480
285
190
30 minutes95
15 minutes100
<8 minutes105
<4 minutes110
<2 minutes115

Typical levels experienced in daily life are: Rock band 110 to 120dB(A), Jet fly-by at 300m or car horn at 1m 100 to 110dB(A), operating a petrol grass mower 90 to 100dB(A) or even something as inocuous as operating a food blender or walking down a busy urban street you would be exposed to a sound pressure level of 80 to 90dB(A).


See also: Action Level, dBA, Hearing, Hearing Damage, Sound Pressure Level, Temporary Threshold Shift.

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Subjects: Audio Noise & Vibration