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How Many Decibels Does It Take To Interfer With Safe Flight ?

by John White |

A decibel (dB) is a unit used to measure the intensity of sounds by comparing it with a given level on a logarithmic scale.

A logarithmic scale is a scale of measurement in which the units are powers of a base number, and it is commonly used when the increase or decrease of a value is exponential.

This means that the dB scale is logarithmic, which therefore means that a change of 10 dB represents a tenfold change in loudness.

So, a sound measuring 30 dB is 10 times louder than a sound measuring 20 dB.

Sources of Noise and Decibel Levels

Look at our image again:
Normal Breathing 10dB
Air Conditioner 60dB
SE Airplane Cockpit 70-90dB
Helicopter Cockpit 80-102dB
Jet Engine 130-160dB

So let's look at this image:

We know that any noise level above 85 dB can be harmful to our hearing.

However, another issue is the effect of lower levels of noise for longer periods of time.

Does prolonged exposure to sound levels lower than 85 dB cause any impairment to the operation of our aircraft?

It seems to me that this is an issue that should be studied carefully.

The FAA and Noise

The FAA has produced a Pilot Safety Brochure which discusses this issue.

You can find that Pilot Safety Brochure here: Hearing and Noise in Aviation

In the meantime keep your wing straight and level Hersch!

Hearing and Noise in Aviation

The Effect of Aviation Noise on Aircraft Operations

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