Fig 1: Sound level meter with dB range settings
A device used to measure the loudness of sounds.
||Noise Level (dB)
|Jet engine (near)
||Threshold of pain
|Thunderclap / nightclub
||Threshold of sensation
|Pneumatic drill / rock gig
The type pictured here is available from both lab suppliers and electrical stores (Maplin etc) and are the same type used to detect noise pollution.
Sound level meters vary in their sensitivities, some are designed for very loud noises only whereas some have a very useful range of 0-130dB. This range suits school use.
Mainly used in lower school lessons to show sound ranges and noise pollution, the sound level meter has limited uses within science.
Relative noise levels are as follows:
|Regular exposure of 1min or more risks hearing loss
||No more than 15mins exposure recommended
|Motorcycle / lawnmower
||Regular 8 hour exposure can cause damage
||Interferes with conversation
||Threshold of human hearing
The contents of this page are for information only. Please refer to CLEAPSS or ASE safety advice and/or publications before undertaking any preparation, practical experiment or using any equipment featured on this site or any other.