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Facts About Noise #2

Permissible Noise Exposure

The legally permissible noise exposure varies from country to country. U.S. law currently allows exposure to 90 dB for eight hours. Most countries allow only 85 dB for an eight hour work day.

Scientifically noise doubles with every increase of three dB, but U.S. legislation has defined a five dB doubling for legal purposes. This definition allows more noise exposure and consequently require less efforts form corporations in regards to noise abatement and hearing conservation efforts.

Discussions and proposals are now ongoing in the U.S. to lower the maximum noise level to 85 dB and also to accept the three dB doubling factor. The two charts below show the differences in legal noise exposure for the four possible scenarios.

Example: 90 dB and 85 dB for 8 hours, with 5 dB doubling factor

Noise Level

Maximum Legal Exposure

Noise Level

Maximum Legal Exposure

90 dB

8 hours

85 dB

8 hours

95 dB

4 hours

90 dB

4 hours

100 dB

2 hours

95 dB

2 hours

105 dB

1 hour

100 dB

1 hour

110 dB

30 minutes

105 dB

30 minutes

115 dB

15 minutes

110 dB

15 minutes

120 dB

7.5 minutes

115 dB

7,5 minutes

Example: 90 dB and 85 dB for 8 hours, with 3 dB doubling factor

Noise Level

Maximum Legal Exposure

Noise Level

Maximum Legal Exposure

90 dB

8 hours

85 dB

8 hours

93 dB

4 hours

88 dB

4 hours

96 dB

2 hours

91 dB

2 hours

99 dB

1 hour

94 dB

1 hour

102 dB

30 minutes

97 dB

30 minutes

105 dB

15 minutes

100 dB

15 minutes

108 dB

7.5 minutes

103 dB

7.5 minutes

111 dB

3.75 minutes

106 dB

3.75 minutes

114 dB

1.87 minutes

109 dB

1.87 minutes

Read more: Facts About Noise #3, What is NRR (Noise Reduction Rating)?


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