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Table 1: Examples of sound pressure levels in relation to hearing threshold and pain threshold (in dB SPL)

The range of human ear’s audible sounds goes from 0 dB SPL (hearing threshold) to 120-140 dB SPL (pain threshold)

Source / observing situation Typical sound pressure level (dB SPL)
Hearing threshold 0 dB
Leaves fluttering 20 dB
Whisper in an ear 30 dB
Normal speech conversation for a participant 60 dB
Cars/vehicles for a close observer 60-100 dB
Airplane taking-off for a close observer 120 dB
Pain threshold 120-140 dB

Source: SCENIHR,  Potential health risks of exposure to noise from personal music players and mobile phones including a music playing function (2008) , Section, Page 17