- How Our Hearing Actually Works
1.1 Tolerable Sound Levels for a Human Being
- How Many Decibels Is a Chainsaw?
2.1 Decibel Levels of Different Types of Tools
- How Loud Is a Chainsaw Compared to Other Sources of Sound?
- Can Chainsaw Noise Levels Cause Hearing Loss?
4.1 Ear Protection
- What Chainsaw Decibel Level Is Acceptable From Neighbors?
- Measure the Noise Level of Any Object With DecibelPro.App
Power tools are as loud as they are powerful. But how loud is that specifically? In this article, we’re taking a closer look at one of these power tools to answer the question ‘How many decibels is a chainsaw?’. Read on to learn how loud a chainsaw is in decibels and whether or not it can cause hearing loss.
Hearing is one of the most important abilities we have. Therefore, it’s no wonder it’s also complex.
Before we determine how many decibels is a chainsaw, here’s how our hearing actually works:
· When a sound is produced, our outer ear captures that sound
· The sound travels through the ear canal and reaches the eardrum
· When the sound hits the eardrum, it vibrates
· In doing so, it moves three tiny bones (the ossicles) that are connected on one side to the eardrum and on the other to the inner ear
· The movement of these bones makes the fluid in the inner ear (the cochlea) move
· As the cochlea fluid moves, tiny hair cells send electric signals to the hearing nerve in the brain
· The brain then interprets the electric signals and tells us what we just heard
The most outstanding thing about the intricate way our hearing works is that all the actions mentioned above happen so fast that we can instantly tell what a certain sound is.
As complex as human hearing is, it still has its limits.
Humans cannot hear sounds that are under 0 dB and sounds that are on certain frequencies. In addition, exposure to sounds above 80-90 decibels can cause hearing damage, and sounds above 120 decibels can make us permanently lose our hearing.
In the illustration below, you can see what sound levels are tolerable for human beings and for how long:
The average noise level of a chainsaw is between 106-120 decibels.
More modern chainsaws can be as silent as 106 dB. However, this is actually not silent at all. That’s because 106 dB is still 16 times as loud as the normal level of speech, which is 60 dB, and it is a noise level that has the potential to cause hearing damage and hearing loss in seconds.
The loudest noise level a chainsaw can reach is 120 dB. This is a very dangerous level that can cause irreversible hearing damage after only a few seconds of exposure or even hearing loss if you are not wearing any form of hearing protection.
Specialists advise you wear hearing protection anytime you are exposed to noise levels exceeding 85 to 90 decibels if you want to preserve your hearing.
Here are the average decibel levels of different types of tools according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH):
· Circular saw – 103-113 dB
· Drill – 91-99 dB
· Grinder – 95-109 dB
· Hammer drill – 99-116 dB
· Impact wrench – 101-111 dB
· Jigsaw – 97-102 dB
· Miter saw – 103-113 dB
· Muffler – 83-92 dB
· Orbital sander – 74-97 dB
· Reciprocating saw – 102-112 dB
We recommend you use hearing protection whenever you are using or are around any such tools that exceed the recommended noise exposure limit of 90 dB over 8 hours.
Here’s a comparison between chainsaw decibel levels and the decibel level of other sources of sound:
· A chainsaw is 16 to 32 times louder than the normal level of conversation
· Chainsaw decibel levels are 8 to 16 times louder than the average sound level of a freight train heard from 100 feet away
· A chainsaw is 4 to 8 times louder than a food blender or a hairdryer
· Chainsaw decibel levels are 2 to 4 times louder than the average noise level of a construction site
· A chainsaw is as loud as a rock concert
· Chainsaw decibel levels are 2 to 4 times less loud than a jet engine takeoff heard from 200 feet away
As you can see, when compared to other sources of sound, a chainsaw is extremely loud. Therefore, it is not safe for your ears.
In the table below, you can see that a chainsaw decibel level is in the upper limit of sound levels:
Yes, chainsaw noise levels can cause hearing loss if you do not wear hearing protection.
Exposure of even a few seconds to noise levels between 106 and 120 dB without hearing protection can instantly damage your hearing or even cause hearing loss.
If you are, at any time, exposed to chainsaw decibel levels, namely 106-120 dB, you should wear earplugs, earmuffs, or sound-canceling headphones. They can protect your ears from irreversible damage and hearing loss.
If you cannot wear an ear protection device, increase the distance between yourself and the source of the sound to reduce its intensity.
The acceptable chainsaw decibel level acceptable from neighbors depends on the distance between the sound source and the measurement point.
If a neighbor is using a chainsaw and you want to determine if they are within acceptable limits, you will have to see what the decibel readings are at your property limit.
In general, residential neighborhoods have a noise limit of 70 dB, with even lower limits at night. To know what specific limit applies to your neighborhood, you will have to consult the local authorities.
The best way to preserve your hearing, especially when you are using tools, is to be aware of the noise levels of different sound sources. This way, you can take measures to protect your ears.
The easiest way to check the decibel ratings of common sounds is to use a sound level meter app like Decibel Pro. Decibel Pro is easily downloadable on your iPad or iPhone. You can use it to instantly measure sound, monitor your daily exposure, as well as to set up your audio system.
Decibel Pro also comes with a quick and easy-to-use hearing test you can use to monitor your hearing health.