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Subjective Effect of Change in Sound Pressure Level

Changing sound pressure level and subjective human perception

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There are variations in the individual perception of strength of sound.

Studies have shown that in general the sound is perceived twice as loud if the sound level is increased by 10 dB. Similarly - a 20 dB increase in the sound pressure level is perceived as four times as loud by a normal human hearer.

Sound AwarenessChange in Sound Pressure
Insignificant 1
Just perceptible 3
Clearly noticeable 5
Twice or half as loud 10
Significant 15
Much louder or quieter, four times as loud 20
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  • Engineering ToolBox, (2005). Subjective Effect of Change in Sound Pressure Level. [online] Available at: [Accessed Day Mo. Year].

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