Hearing Protection.... Why Is It Important?

Decibel levels are important to professional users and homeowners alike who wish to avoid noise-induced hearing damage

Hearing Protection... Why Is It Important?

The decibel (dB), which describes the relative intensity of a sound, is based on a scale containing values ranging from 0 – 194, with zero representing the weakest sound audible to humans. At close range, sounds that reach 120 decibels (about the sound of an ambulance siren) are painful to our ears.

Some common decibel readings include:

  • 60 dB - Normal conversation
  • 85 dB - Busy city traffic
  • 90 dB - Lawn mower (at 3 feet)
  • 105 dB - Chain saw (at 3 feet)
  • 140 dB - Hunting rifle (at 100 feet)

The relationships among the above values are algorithmic, not linear; therefore, the simple assumption that a sound with a 100 dB level is twice as intense as a sound with a 50 dB level would be incorrect. For example, a 3 dB decrease affects a 50% change in sound pressure levels, while a 6 dB drop reduces exposure by 75%.

Decibel levels are important to professional users and homeowners alike who wish to avoid noise-induced hearing damage. Government research suggests the safe exposure maximum limit is 85 dB for an eight-hour work day. Anyone working in a 100 dB environment should limit their exposure to two hours per day. Although many tools in our outdoor power equipment line-up operate within safe decibel levels, STIHL recommends the use of hearing protection when operating any power tool. Check out the variety of options at your local STIHL Dealer!

In recent years, as municipalities have grown, they have become more concerned with noise levels in their communities. Ordinances have been put in place governing time-of-use rules for power equipment to ensure the comfort of residents. One tool which has come under considerable scrutiny is the leaf blower. Earlier versions of this product had high decibel readings and the tonality of the machine (a whiny sound) was somewhat bothersome to many residents. Recognizing this, STIHL has developed new, quieter engine technologies and re-designed the fan-wheel to make the blower sound less offensive. Today, our industry-leading BR 600 backpack blower operates at 75 dB, as well as the NEW BR 700, and our ultra-quiet BR 500 at a mere 65 dB, not much louder than two neighbours chatting about the great job STIHL power tools do.