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The World's Top 10 Loudest Noises Ever Recorded

Apatow Productions/DreamWorks Pictures – “Anchorman”

We typically hear several “loud” noises per day. Although the term “loud” is relative, certain events like a shrill dog bark, a jackhammer at a construction site, or a loud plane passing overhead are just some of the day-to-day loudest noises that we may face.

The pain threshold for humans is 120-130 Decibels (dB). Any sound above 85 dB can cause hearing loss, and the loss is related both to the power of the sound as well as the length of exposure. With that, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 loudest noises ever recorded throughout history. Some of them are regular occurrences; others are one-time events.

10:  A 400,000 watt set of speakers: 135-145 dB

9:  Fireworks (up close, at bursting point): 145-150 dB

8:  Gunfire: 145-155 dB

7:  Dragster zipping down the racetrack: 155-160 dB

6: Shuttle solid rocket boosters fire (must stand at least 0.5 mi away): 165-170 dB

5:  1883 Krakatoa Volcano eruption (was reportedly heard at the Island of Rodrigues, 3000 mi away): 180 dB

4:  Blue whale call (heard hundreds of miles underwater): up to 188 dB

3:  1-ton bomb explosion: 210 dB

2:  7.1-scale earthquake: 235 dB.

​1:  Tunguska Event (Russia, 1908): 310 dB. (had the impact of 1000-Megaton bomb)

For reference, human speech is only registered at about 25-35 decibels. That makes these loud noises all the more impressive…but painful!

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