Intensity of sound and pain level

In summary, the intensity of sound at the pain level of 120 dB is 10^12 W/m^2, while a whisper measures at 20 dB and has an intensity of 10^2 W/m^2. This means that the loud noise is 10^10 times more intense than the whisper. Decibels are a dimensionless unit used for comparison, with 1 bel equaling a 10-fold increase in sound level.
  • #1
needhelp83
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What is the intensity of sound at the pain level of 120 dB? Compare this to that of a whisper at 20 dB?


I know this should be so simple, but it has me confused.

I have the formula but I am just not sure how to apply it.

I(db)=10 log _ 10 (I/I _ 0)
 
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  • #2
I would probably just assume that the base level (I_0) is 1... then solve each sound level in dB for the sound level in a linear intensity scale... then compare the two sound levels by saying something like... the loud noise is x times louder than the whisper.
 
  • #3
Wiki has some fascinating information about decibels.

1 bel is a 10-fold increase in sound level. It is dimensionless (like percent, it is only for comparison). 1 decibel is 1/10th of a bel*.


*(So, 1 decibel is a 1-fold increase in sound? i.e. no increase at all? :biggrin: )
 
  • #4
120 dB=10 log (I/1) vs. 20 dB=10 log (I/ 1)
 
  • #5
b=10 log (I/ I0)
120 dB=10 log (I/1)
10^12=(I/ 1)
I= 10^12 W/m^2


b=10 log (I/I0)
20 dB=10 log (I/1)
10^2=(I/1)
I=10^2 W/m^2


The intensity of 120 dB would be 10^12 W/m^2 compared to the whisper with the intensity at 10^2 W/m^2 which equals 10^10 more intense.

Sound good?
 

What is the relationship between intensity of sound and pain level?

The intensity of sound refers to the loudness or amplitude of a sound wave, while pain level is a subjective measure of discomfort caused by a stimulus. Generally, the higher the intensity of sound, the more likely it is to cause pain. However, an individual's pain threshold may vary, so the relationship between intensity and pain level may not be consistent for everyone.

How is intensity of sound measured?

Intensity of sound is typically measured in decibels (dB), which is a logarithmic scale that relates the sound pressure level to a reference value. This reference value is the faintest sound that can be detected by the human ear, and is assigned a value of 0 dB. As the intensity of sound increases, the decibel level also increases.

What are common sources of high intensity sound that can cause pain?

Some common sources of high intensity sound that can cause pain include explosions, gunfire, construction equipment, and loud music or concerts. These sounds can reach levels above 120 dB, which is considered the threshold for pain in most individuals.

Can exposure to high intensity sound cause permanent damage to hearing?

Yes, exposure to high intensity sound over a prolonged period of time can cause permanent damage to hearing. This is known as noise-induced hearing loss and can occur due to repeated exposure to loud noises or a single traumatic event, such as an explosion. It is important to protect your ears from high intensity sound to prevent hearing loss.

How can the intensity of sound be reduced to prevent pain?

The intensity of sound can be reduced by using earplugs or earmuffs, avoiding loud environments, and keeping a safe distance from sources of high intensity sound. It is also important to give your ears a break from loud noises and to avoid listening to music at high volumes for extended periods of time.

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