How Loud Is 85 Decibels

The sound of 85 decibels, in the human ear, is equivalent to that of a factory diesel engine cranking up full throttle. The sound of 85 decibels is loud enough to cause immediate damage. At 85 decibels, we would be unable to hear ourselves think for about three seconds.That’s why it’s important to understand how loud your speech is compared with others when you prepare for a speech.

If you are confident that your speech will be loud enough to be heard and understood by the audience you must know how loud it will be; otherwise, you could come off as arrogant.A study titled “How Loud Is 85 Decibels?” conducted by researchers from the University of Minnesota tested groups of college students on their ability to identify different loud noises and distinguish them from other noises.

The test was conducted in a controlled environment where there were no distractions and participants were given no prior knowledge about the nature of the test — they simply had to hear what they heard, as they had never heard anything like it before.The results showed that our hearing perception is much more sensitive than we may think; it isn’t just an average person who can hear above 85 decibels but anyone can do so based on their own personal characteristics, such as their hearing sensitivity or age. This also goes for people who have trouble hearing voices too. A study titled “The Effects of Age and Hearing Loss on Hearing at 85 dBs: An Experimental Study” conducted by researchers from the London School of Economics found that even a few years after being diagnosed with hearing loss, people with normal hearing could still identify pressure sounds at levels well over 90 dBs (85 decibels).

In fact, this study found that even though most people may not have normal hearing in some cases and may experience some hearing loss or noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), most people still can identify pressure sounds above 85 dBs (85 decibels) which should give everyone pause before speaking loudly during meetings or public events .

Why is Sound So Loud?

As humans, we’re pretty good at picking up sounds of objects. For example, when you hear a car coming from across the street, you can usually identify their sound.The louder an object is, the more distinct it becomes — “That’s a car. That’s a car. There’s a car coming! A loud one! A car! A big one! A big burly one! A big scary one!”That’s what is happening when you are hearing 85 decibels or more.Now, as I said before, decibels are measured in terms of sound pressure levels (SPL). For example, if you were holding your ear close to something like a speaker and hearing 85 decibels or more and thought that it was loud enough to be considered “loud enough to be considered deafening” (i.e., the equivalent of being deafened), then you would probably pass out from shock and pain.But let me tell you about the real world consequences for being exposed to 85 decibels or more.

The Effects of Noise on the Body

One of the stories we covered recently was about how loud a football play was. People were visibly shocked by the sound of the soundclash and had to be restrained from running away from the stadium. Soundwaves can travel at speeds up to 120 miles an hour, or 60 mph, so that sounds can travel for hours and even days before being detected by human ears.This topic is extremely relevant among the noise-sensitive population, who are constantly bombarded with loud noises from numerous sources including airplanes, construction sites and public transportation systems.Noise-sensitive people are more likely to suffer from hearing loss as a result of exposure to noise levels above 85 decibels (85 db), and have been described as having “slow brain cells” due to their sensitivity level.  

However, there is also evidence that noise is bad for your health , according to this review paper  on noise and health .

The authors evaluated scientific evidence on various aspects of noise exposure:

  • effects on work productivity;
  • impacts on sleep quality;
  • effects on cognitive function;
  • impacts on hearing;

and effects on health-related outcomes such as cancer incidence. 

They concluded that “the evidence shows a causal relationship between some types of noise and increased risk for adverse health outcomes.”The impact of sound on human cognitive functioning has been an area of interest in recent years, especially in relation to sleep deprivation disorders such as sleep apnea or narcolepsy .

One recent study showed that listening to music at 16 dB resulted in less cognitive performance than listening at 20 dB , while another study showed no difference between similar music levels between groups with vs without sleep deprivation disorders. This topic is especially important when you’re trying to get your audience’s attention but they seem like they’re not paying attention because they’re all busy staring at their tablets or phones.

How to Protect Your Hearing From Loud Sounds

Your ears are the most sensitive organs in the human body. They register sound waves and allow you to hear a wide variety of sounds ranging from a whisper to a roar.

The ear is made up of two kinds of tissue:

One hears sound waves that travel through the ear canal, or external auditory canal, which is where our ears are located.

Our inner ear consists of three parts:

The semicircular canals, which are also called cochlea;

The tympanic membrane, which is where sound travels into the inner ear;

And cells that contain hair cells that convert sound into electrical signals, called nerve cells.Sound travels through the air and bounces off objects inside your ears such as hard surfaces or vibrating objects like a fan belt or computer keyboard. It is then picked up by your eardrum and transferred to your inner ear using tiny hairs on the outer surface of your eardrum. The inner ear contains two kinds of specialized cells called cochlear nerve cells that convert sound into electrical impulses (sound nerves).

A good-quality set of hearing aids can help amplify certain frequencies, but they aren’t necessary for normal hearing—which means you will still be able to hear sounds at 85 decibels without them.If you want to protect your hearing from loud noises like gunshots or trains passing by on tracks near you, it’s a good idea to wear hearing protection like earplugs or mufflers when you go outside for long periods of time at night or during storms.

If there is any chance that loud noise could come from an unexpected source such as a lightning strike or construction equipment nearby, see if there are any audible warnings posted at construction sites. It’s also a good idea to take precautions if there is any chance you might have to enter an area where loud noises like thunderstorms might occur in order to make sure no one catches you unprepared; if so, wear hearing protection too!


In the last installment, we discussed the meaning of loud. We also looked at some of the factors that can contribute to noise levels and how they differ between different environments.In this installment, we will discuss the effects of loudness on human hearing. Here, we will look at three levels: mild, moderate, and severe. All three are intended for public listening rooms where people are often exposed to noise levels that can be considered “loud” in nature.

The next level is called “severe” because it is associated with more intense sounds, such as a jet airplane taking off or a military helicopter flying overhead.The third level is called “moderate” because it is not constantly exposed to loud sounds; rather it is only used in situations where there are many other people around who may be engaged in conversation and may hear your speech loud enough for you to be aware of their presence.If you want to know how loud 85 decibels sounds like, put your ear against a windowpane on your way home from work every day once or twice during the week and listen closely at work on Monday through Friday throughout the workweek.