Happy New Year from Metropolitan Acoustics! Our usual strategy is to encourage quiet and comfortable acoustic environments; however, some of us do break our own rules to experience chest thumping fireworks or a rowdy concert. This month, let’s explore some acoustic records both loud and quiet. Read on to learn more about the most extreme places and events on earth.
Records come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from sounds one individual can make to sounds from large crowds. Some notable world records that you can try to break yourself include world’s loudest clap (117 dBA), loudest snap of the fingers (108 dBA), and loudest whistle (125 dBA). Also, the world’s loudest snoring was measured to be 93 dBA during a clinical sleep study for those of you who may think your significant other snores louder than anyone else.
When crowds get involved, the acoustic records become increasingly impressive. The loudest crowd roar was measured during an indoor sporting event at a Kansas Jayhawks men’s basketball game in 2017. The peak sound level went up to 130 dBA, which ultimately pushed the Jayhawks to a close win over West Virginia. The Guinness World Records no longer celebrates “The Loudest Band in the World” for fear of promoting hearing loss; however, anecdotally, one of the most impressive performers in this category is Garth Brooks who is known for causing “Garthquakes”. These are events when his 100,000+ occupancy concerts become so loud that they actually register as earthquakes on seismograph machines. Other noteworthy records formerly belonged to Deep Purple, AC/DC, The Who, and Kiss, the latter of which registered a sound level of 136 dBA in 2009, which is very close to the sound level of a jet engine.
Now, for those of you who are interested in the opposite end of the spectrum, there is a noteworthy record for the world’s quietest place. This very quiet room is owned by Microsoft and is located in their headquarters in Redmond, WA. The measured background sound level in this anechoic chamber is -20.6 dB. The threshold of hearing is 0 dB, so -20.6 dB is four times quieter than that. If you are hanging out in there, the sound of your own pulse may drive you crazy!
Don’t forget – it is critical to use proper hearing protection if you intend to participate in events with sound levels in excess of 85 dBA. For a refresher on how the ear works and proper ways to take care of one of our most valuable senses, see our newsletter from January 2021! Hopefully, you will take this information and strive to break records in your own lives, no matter how big or small. Happy New Year!