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USSI | An Acoustical and Industrial Building Podcast

Dec 3, 2019

When comparing decibel values, that best way to think about it is to consider how decibel values combine. For example, the combination of a sound having a level of 50 dB, and a second sound having an equal sound level of 50 dB is 53 dB. In shorthand (but not arithmetically correct) 50 dB, quote-unquote, plus 50 dB is 53 dB. This gives us a good rule of thumb to live by:

Two equal sound levels combine to be 3 decibels greater than the individual. 65 dB "+" 65 dB = 68 dB

When two sound levels differ by 10 decibels or more, when combined, the lesser level can be ignored. 65 dB + 75 dB = 75 dB

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