Voice Level and Distance

Voice level at various distance

Talking with

  • a normal voice approximates to sound pressure level 70 dB
  • a raised voice approximates to sound pressure level 76 dB
  • a very loud voice approximates to sound pressure level 82 dB
  • a shouting voice approximates to sound pressure level 88 dB

at 1 ft distance.

For every doubling of the distance from the noise source the sound pressure level will be reduced with 6 decibels:

DistanceVoice Level (dB)
(ft)(m)NormalRaisedVery LoudShouting
1 0.3 70 76 82 88
3 0.9 60 66 72 78
6 1.8 54 60 66 72
12 3.7 48 54 60 66
24 7.3 42 48 54 60

In a social situation people often talk with normal voice levels at distances 1 to 4 meters. In such cases background noise levels should not exceed 55 to 60 dB(A).

In outdoor play and recreational areas people often communicate with raised or very loud voices at distances 5 to 10 meters and background noise should not exceed 45 to 55 dB(A).

background noise voice level

Related Topics

  • Acoustics - Room acoustics, acoustic properties - decibel A, B and C - Noise Rating (NR) curves, sound transmission, sound pressure, sound intensity, attenuation and more

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