Decibels; The Power of Sound

What we perceive as sound is longitudinal oscillations of pressure waves travelling through the air and the decibel rating of the sound is dictated by the how big those waves are – their amplitude.

Decibels are logarithmic so the decibel scale can seem confusing at first, but if we consider the sound of a jet engine is about 1,000,000,000,000 times more powerful than the smallest audible sound we can see why the scale is logarithmic – in order to scale it all down.

On the decibel scale, the smallest audible sound (near total silence) is 0dB. A sound 10 times more powerful is 10dB. A sound 100 times more powerful than near total silence is 20dB.

To protect our hearing, there are often many precautions put into place that most of us are completely unaware of and some we’re responsible for, such as wearing ear protection whilst shooting or operating a chainsaw.

During space rocket launches, 300,000 gallons of water are dumped onto the launch platform to absorb the intense acoustic energy that would otherwise damage the shuttle.
And why water? Because the pressure of the water can absorb the sound and massively decrease it.

The loudest sound ever experienced by humans was the Tunguska Event.

This was a large explosion that occurred near the Stony Tunguska River in Russia on the morning of 30th June 1908.
The explosion flattened 2,000 km2 (770 square miles) of forest yet caused no human casualties. The explosion is attributed to the air burst of a meteor and is classified as an impact event despite no impact crater being found. The meteor is thought to have disintegrated at an altitude of 5-10 kilometres rather than hit the surface of the Earth.
The shockwave from the blast would have measured 5.0 on the Richter Scale.

This event created a sound pressure of around 300 decibels which is extraordinarily loud, and would have caused permanent hearing loss for those in proximity to it.

So, what was the decibel sound of the Big Bang?

As by name we would assume that the sound made upon the creation of our universe likened to a ‘Big Bang.’
Some state that there was no noise, as it was a vacuum, and sound cannot travel through a vacuum.
But surely, even though it is a vacuum, would there not have been sufficient density of matter to propagate sound within the expanding bubble? It seems plausible with many referring to the background noise of the universe as the sound of the Big Bang.

Numerous studies, theories and data shows that there was in fact sound, but considering the overwhelming size of this event, the acoustic waves generated had infinitely low frequencies and therefore a wavelength so immense and unimaginable, estimated at several thousand light years! So the sounds would and are not audible to the usual human or any creature known to us!

Taking care of our hearing is something we take seriously at Bayan Audio – so listening to loud music for long periods of time is not something we recommend, however listening on equipment that distorts can also be very damaging to our ears, which is why we always strive to build speakers that are distortion free at all volume levels!

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