Threshold of Pain

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Threshold of Pain


the intensity of acoustic pressure at which pain develops in the ear.

The upper limit of the dynamic range of human audibility is often determined by pain. The threshold of pain is to a very small degree dependent on the frequency of the sound. In persons conditioned to hearing loud sounds, the threshold of pain for sinusoidal signals averages 140 decibels (dB) in relation to a pressure of 2 X 10–5 newtons/m2 or 2 X 10–4 dynes/cm2 and 120 dB for noises with a continuous spectrum. In the absence of conditioning, the threshold of pain is approximately 10 dB lower in both cases. Acoustic trauma may result from exposure to loud sounds.

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The threshold of pain is measured at 130dB, the equivalent of a 999 siren at 100ft.
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A chart outside that chamber shows the decibel scale, explaining that the threshold of pain is 10 billion times louder than a whisper - a level that surely was achieved by one group of 10-year-old girls as they aimed to blow the decibel meter well into the red zone.

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