[personal profile] idupree
(The canonical location of this blog post is now Sound meter on my web site.)

I am just tinkering; these are estimates:

My laptop's fan is indistinguishable from background noise at a distance of 1 meter, though I can still hear it plenty. This background sound measurement is 18 decibels dBA. (Likely that's the minimum reading on this meter. It's spec'ed for 40-130dB though it works well down to 20 for comparisons.)

My fan is 35 dBA at 1m. It's a household fan about the size of my head.

Music played by my laptop speakers [testing song: "They'll Need a Crane" by They Might Be Giants] is 35-40 dBA at 1m when playing it the loudest I'd want to play it while standing in front of the computer, and 60 dBA at 1m when playing it at near max volume (which fills the room with sound).

One bathroom has a fan which fills the bathroom with 50-60 dBA, and a shower which makes noise at 70 dBA at 1m.

My electric hair trimmer produces 55-60 dBA at 1m when running normally and 80+ dBA at 1m when it decides to buzz horribly. I only left it in that latter state for enough seconds to get a likely reading, so the latter number isn't very precise.

Eating nuts is 20-30 dBA at 1m, but rustling my hand around inside the plastic bag the nuts are in is 45 dBA at 1m.

My earphones (Koss KSC75) when driven at max volume by my computer (not being worn) are audible/understandable at 1m but indistinguishable from the background noise in dBA at that distance.

My handheld vacuum cleaner is 70 dBA at 1m.

This room's overhead buzzing fluorescent light that I don't usually use is dBA indistinguishable from the background noise, or maybe 19 instead of 18 dBA at 1m.


I am using this sound meter, which only measures dBA (decibels weighted on the "A" scale), not e.g. dBC, because it's cheap. My ears work well.

1 meter is estimated, not measured - the exact distance didn't make drastic differences when it was about right. The room's acoustic properties probably make a significant difference here. I tested most of these in a room which is the lowest level of the building, 7 1/2 feet (2.3m) tall, 13 feet (4m) long, 9-12 feet (2.7-3.7m) wide, and has strange inter-room acoustics.

I made sure I was not holding both the object making noise and the sound-meter at the same time, so that the meter would not measure sound vibrations traveling directly through my body.
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January 2014


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