1. What Is 130 Decibels?
  2. How Loud Is 130 Decibels: Common Sources of Noise
    2.1 Horn
    2.2 Klaxon
    2.3 Personal Alarm
    2.4 Alarm Siren
  3. Is 130 dB Safe for Hearing?
    3.1 How Long Can You Listen to It?
    3.2 How to Protect Yourself
  4. Comparison to Other Intensity Levels
    4.1 70 decibels
    4.2 90 decibels
    4.3 120 decibels
  5. How Far Away Can You Hear 130 dB?
  6. How to Measure Decibels with DecibelPro.App

In this article, we’re answering two important questions: ‘How loud is 130 decibels?’ and ‘Is 130 dB hearing-safe?’. Read on to learn all about what 130 dB is, examples of sounds that reach this decibel level, and comparisons with other sound intensity levels.

What Is 130 Decibels?

We use the decibel scale to describe the intensity of sounds audible to the human ear. The louder a sound is, the more decibels it measures. The decibel scale is rarely used for measuring sounds we humans cannot hear, such as ultrasonic sounds that only some animals can hear.

The threshold of human hearing is 0 decibels. 130 decibels is considered the threshold of pain when it comes to our ears. What this means is that listening to sounds with an intensity of 130 dB is both painful and harmful to human hearing.

130-decibel sounds can cause instant hearing damage and noise-induced hearing loss.

How Loud Is 130 Decibels: Common Sources of Noise

130 dB is extremely loud and equivalent to:

  • a jet take-off
  • the loudest rock concert ever recorded
  • a gunshot at close range
  • the sound made by a jackhammer

All sounds that exceed 85 decibels are considered dangerous to human hearing, but this intensity level is considered extremely dangerous.

The easiest way to understand how loud is 130 dB is to imagine (not expose yourself to) common sounds that reach this decibel level. Fortunately, these are not sounds you can come across every day and you will rarely, if ever, have to be exposed to them. However, if you are ever exposed to sound levels above 85 decibels, the rule of thumb is that you should wear hearing protection.

Here are a few examples of common sources of 130 dB noise:


While a car horn is around 110 dB, an air horn can reach 130 dB. Air horns are pneumatic devices used for signaling but also at sporting events. Given how damaging they can be especially when they are used close to the ear, they have been banned in many states and are not considered acceptable at many sports arenas.


A klaxon is an electric horn used on trains, ships, and trailer trucks. It makes an extremely loud recognizable sound that measures 130 dB.

Personal Alarm

Personal alarms are safety devices that make an extremely loud sound to scare off attackers. The high-pitched sound made by a personal alarm is between 120-130 dB.

Alarm Siren

Alarm sirens like the ones fitted on ambulances need to be extremely loud so that they can be heard from far away. They can easily reach 130 dB.

Is 130 dB Safe for Hearing?

130 dB is not safe for your hearing. In fact, exposing yourself to 130 dB sounds even for a few seconds can affect your hearing instantly, causing hearing damage or hearing loss.

As you can see in the decibel chart below, 130 dB is considered extremely loud.

130 db equivalent

How Long Can You Listen to It?

You cannot listen to 130 dB sounds for even a few seconds without wearing hearing protection if you are standing right next to the sound source. However, if you distance yourself from the 130 dB sound, its intensity will decrease and the further you are from it, the safer you will be.

As a general rule, the louder a sound is, the less time you should listen to it. And being aware of how loud a sound is is very important as even the music you are listening to your headphones at full volume can reach 100 dB – a level for which the recommended exposure is 15 minutes.

How to Protect Yourself

The best way to protect yourself from the dangers of high-intensity sounds and to prevent hearing damage and hearing loss is to wear hearing protection. Health experts recommend wearing earplugs, earmuffs, or noise-canceling headphones.

The second thing you can do to protect yourself from loud noise is to distance yourself from it. Lastly, you can protect your hearing by limiting the amount of time you expose yourself to loud noise. However, the time limit for exposure to 130 dB sound is 0 seconds.

Comparison to Other Intensity Levels

Sound intensity increases 10 times for each +10 dB difference.

70 decibels

70 decibels is the maximum recommended noise level humans should be exposed to over a 24-hour period. This limit applies to adults. For a baby (or for your neighbors), it is 50-60 decibels.

Compared to 70 dB, 130 dB is 1,000,000 times more intense.

90 decibels

90 decibels is comparable to the sound of a motorcycle and 10,000 times less intense than 130 dB.

120 decibels

120 dB sounds are 10 times less intense than 130 dB sounds.

How Far Away Can You Hear 130 dB?

The way we perceive sounds depends on how far away we are from the source. It also depends on how the sound travels and if there is anything blocking or dampening the sound as it moves through the air.

As sound travels, its intensity decreases by about 6 decibels for each doubling of the distance.

For example, a 130 dB sound at the source will be 124 dB at 1 meter, 118 dB at 2 meters, and 112 dB at 4 meters. Therefore, depending on the specific conditions, 130 dB can be heard from a considerable distance.

How to Measure Decibels with DecibelPro.App

To easily measure decibels, you can download a decibel meter app. Decibel Pro is just as efficient as a professional sound level meter and instantly displays measured decibel levels on your iPhone or iPad screen.

It works just as well in a quiet room as it does at an outdoor rock concert.

To download Decibel Pro, AppStore. GooglePlay.

Decibel Pro also features:

  • a hifi spectrum analyzer for setting up sound systems
  • a hearing test for regularly monitoring your hearing health
  • a noise dosimeter to calculate your daily noise exposure

To learn more about the Decibel app, click here.