Loudest sounds known to man: Fireworks noise equivalent to aircraft taking off

As we brace ourselves for deafening and spectacular annual Bonfire Night celebrations, researchers have identified some of the loudest sounds in modern history.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 5th November 2015, 5:00 am
The noise from fireworks is the equivalent to an aircraft taking off
The noise from fireworks is the equivalent to an aircraft taking off

Experts have warned the public that the average sound of a firework is 150dB - equivalent to an aircraft taking off - which could potentially lead to hearing loss.

Some scientists believe the sounds a low as 80dB - equivalent to a smoke alarm - also pose a risk to hearing.

But the dangers of modern fireworks pale into significance compared to some of the loudest noises in human history.

Researchers have compiled a list of some of the loudest noises ever experienced on planet earth in modern history.

They have produced an interactive, infographic comparing 34 sounds.

Topping the table is the devastating volcanic eruption of Mount Tambora, Indonesia in 1815 which experts say produced a unimaginable 320db noise.

The huge sound wave generated by the eruption would have instantly killed anyone within a few miles of the blast by rupturing their internal organs.

Following closely behind, is the Tunguska meteor which struck the sparsely-populated area in mid-Siberia in 1908 flattening nearly 800 sq miles of forest.

Scientists estimate the 600-foot-wide meteor created a sound of 310dB when it exploded just above ground level.

An earthquake measuring 5.0 on the Richter Scale would also produce a sound of 235dB.

Researchers found that the loudest noise made by an animal, relative to it’s size, was the Tiger Pistol Shrimp.

The amazing crustacean produces a sound equivalent to 200dB for its size.

By contrast the loudest human scream has been recorded at 128dB and a crying baby generates 110dB.

While human sounds pose little danger to hearing, experts from charity Action On Hearing Loss have once again warned the public to take care of their ears on Bonfire Night.

The charity has urged revellers to wear ear defenders and ear plugs particularly at public displays.

Currently fireworks sold in the UK to the public cannot exceed 120dB - but the restriction does not apply to public displays which are also often accompanied by loud music.

Louise Hart, senior audiologist at AOHL, said: “Firecrackers and fireworks create sound levels from 125 - 155 dB at an average distance of three metres.

“In the UK the law says they can’t be louder than 120dB.”

She said that different factors could affect the sound produced, adding: “Therefore, the same fireworks can sound louder or softer from one night to the next.”

You can see the fill interactive list of sounds online at www.airconco.com/decibel-scale