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How Loud is a White Noise Machine?

The Marpac SleepMate and Sound Screen 980 white noise machine operate at approx. 60 dB, the same as a normal conversation. Customers often ask if a white noise machine contributes to hearing loss in babies, children and adults. Hearing loss may be caused by a one-time exposure to an extremely loud soud (such as an explosion) or by exposure to loud sounds over months or years. Loudness, or sound intensity, is measured in decibels (dB). The scale runs from O dB (which is the faintest sound a human ear can detect) to more than 180dB (the noise at a rocket pad during launch). Decibels are measured on a logarithmic scale, meaning that every time the intensity increases by units of 10, each increase is 10 times the lower figure. So 40 decibels is 1000 times as intense as 10 dB.

What's Too Loud?

Experts believe that prolonged exposure to sounds above 85 dB without any protection can damage your hearing.

30 dB
a whisper
50 dB
the sound of heavy rainfall
60 dB
normal conversation
70 dB
rush-hour traffic
85 dB - risk level
90 dB
subway train; lawn mower
100 dB
power saw; drill
115 dB
sandblasting; loud rock concert
130 dB
race-car noise
140 dB
jet engine
150 dB
170 dB
shotgun blast