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Decibels (dB)

A decibel (dB) is a unit used to measure how loud a sound is (intensity).

For example, a whisper usually measures about 15 dB to 30 dB, a vacuum cleaner about 75 dB, and a motorcycle about 100 dB. Any sound over 85 dB is considered harmful.

Last Revised: April 8, 2013

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Charles M. Myer, III, MD - Otolaryngology

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