Today’s Illustration: How Loud Can A Sound Actually Get?

What: Sound

  • Sound or Noise is measured in units we call decibels (dB).
  • Sounds above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss.
  • Level (dB) and length are the two factors that are in operation for hearing damage.
  • For each unit of 10, the sound is actually doubling.
  • At 110 dB, two minutes of exposure can cause hearing loss.
  • A normal conversation is about 60-65 dB
  • A baby crying — 110 dB
  • A chain saw — 120 dB
  • An ambulance — 130 dB
  • The Howler Monkey — 140 dB
  • A few hours at a rock concert can permanently damage your hearing.
    • Ten Examples:
      10. A Rock Concert: A rock concert by your favourite band can reach an ear-splitting 135-145 dB. No wonder some of the biggest rock and pop stars out there are complaining of tinnitus!

      9. Fireworks: At the point of explosion, decibel levels from fireworks can reach 145-150 dB.

      8. Gunfire: Be careful the next time you are hunting or at the firing range – A gunshot can reach up to 145-155 dB.

      7. NHRA Dragsters: A dragster screaming down the raceway registers in at 155-160 decibels, loud enough to shake your body.

      6. The Space Shuttle Launch: Unlike many other loud noises, the shuttle rocket sound reaches constant 165-170 dB as it creates the power to lift off the ground into space.

      5. The Blue Whale: As well as the biggest, the blue whale is also the loudest animal in the world. Its mating call reaches levels up to 188 dB and can be heard for hundreds of miles underwater.

      4. The Krakatoa volcanic eruption: Not only did it cause serious damage to the island, the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883 created the loudest sound ever reported at 180 dB. It was so loud it was heard 3,000 miles (5,000 km) away.

      3. A 1-Ton TNT Bomb: An explosion from this bomb would measure 210 dB.

      2. A 5.0 Richter Earth Quake: A strong earthquake such as this reaches a decibel level of 235.

      1. The Tunguska Meteor: This was a huge explosion in Russia close the Tunguska River of Podkamennaya. It had the comparable effect of a 300-315 dB 1000-mega-ton bomb. This is often regarded as the loudest one-time event in history. [1]

  • “The sound made by the Krakatoa volcanic eruption in 1883 was so loud it ruptured eardrums of people 40 miles away, travelled around the world four times, and was clearly heard 3,000 miles away.” [1]
  • “Think, for a moment, just how crazy this is. If you’re in Boston and someone tells you that they heard a sound coming from New York City, you’re probably going to give them a funny look. But Boston is a mere 200 miles from New York. What we’re talking about here is like being in Boston and clearly hearing a noise coming from Dublin, Ireland. Travelling at the speed of sound (766 miles or 1,233 kilometers per hour), it takes a noise about 4 hours to cover that distance. This is the most distant sound that has ever been heard in recorded history.” [2]
  • A smaller example:  Volcano Eruption in Papua New Guinea —
  • At close proximity, the Saturn V measures an incredible 220 db, loud enough to melt concrete just from the sound. [2]
    At 500 meters, 155 db you would experience painful, violent shaking in your entire body, you would feel compressed, as though deep underwater. Your vision would blur, breathing would be very difficult, your eardrums are obviously a lost cause, even with advanced active noise cancelling protection you could experience permanent damage. This is the sort of sound level aircraft mechanics sometimes experience for short periods of time. Almost twice as “loud” as putting your ear up to the exhaust of a formula 1 car. The air temperature would drop significantly, perhaps 10-25 degrees F, becoming suddenly cold because of the air being so violently stretched and moved.” [2]

“The word “loud” is inadequate to describe how loud that is.


Key Illustrative Thoughts:

  • thunder / lightning
  • trumpets
  • sound an alarm
  • cymbals
  • judgement
  • Mt. Sinai
  • The Book of the Revelation
  • “can you hear me now”
  • bells on a priest’s garment
  • testimony / witnessing / evangelism
  • hearing / dull of hearing
  • voice of the angel / chariots
  • “saying with a loud voice”
  • “sound of many waters”
  • “heard behind me a voice”
  • “noise of their wings”
  • “a voice of wailing is heard”
  • the last trumpet
  • “a voice from heaven, This is my beloved Son.”
  • the rapture
  • the trumpet judgments


Sermonic Example: 

(include whatever detail you find useful)

. . . Now generally there are three factors in operation —  proximity, longevity, and the dBs.   The factors involved are — how close are you to the sound, how long is the sound being produced, and at what volume is that sound.

We all know that “distance” helps . . . . We understand that when we see fireworks go off in the sky.  We would not want to be near it when it explodes.  The sound would be deafening!

However, one day, the distance factor will not matter.  A trumpet will be sounded from heaven and all of us will hear it.  Not one believer will miss hearing the sound of the last trumpet.  From the four corners of the earth that trumpet will be heard . . . .


Other Information & Links:



Sound travels at 766 mph. Breaking the sound barrier means that an object is moving faster than 766 mph., thus supersonic airliners, or SSTs

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