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Can we break the world record for the loudest sound?

Want to learn more about the world's loudest thing?

Have you ever wondered why the earth makes such a loud noise when it shakes? Or why the sky makes a loud boom when you fly over thunderstorms? This post will explain how these phenomena occur, and will include a list of some of the loudest things in the world.

If you're a science nerd and want to know more about the loudest things in the world, you've come to the right place.

Keep reading to learn more about the best ways to protect your ears.

The world’s loudest sound is believed to be the Krakatoa eruption in 1883. It was so loud that the eruption could be heard 3,000 miles away in Indonesia.

This post will talk about what is known to be the loudest thing in this world and will provide an explanation of what happened to make it so; we'll also name other things that are louder than your average rock concert or bark from a dog.

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What is loud?

Loudness is the subjective measure of auditory intensity. Sounds that are too loud for our ears may damage our hearing and those louder still can damage our nerves and bones. In order to be able to hear anything, the sound must be below a certain threshold. This threshold also depends on what we are listening to as well as how many people are speaking at the same time, along with the distance of the listener from the sound source and whether or not we're wearing headphones or earplugs.

The decibel [dB] is the unit used to measure the intensity of a sound. In scientific terms, if a person must add 10 dB to a sound for it to be perceived as twice as loud, then the decibel is statistically equal to this exponential power: 10 ÷ 2 = 5. This differs from some units of measurement where adding 10 units of a sound results in twice the volume.

So what is really loud?

Loudness can be measured on a logarithmic scale that takes into account how sensitive our ears are at different audio frequencies. In order for a sound to be perceived as loud, the sound has to reach 15, 20 or 25 decibels. The decibel corresponds to 10 times the logarithmic power of the base-10 logarithm of the intensity.

Now back to our original question. What is the loudest sound in the world?

The loudest sound in the world was recorded in the Krakatoa eruption, which took place on August 27, 1883. The explosive sound of this massive volcanic eruption could be heard 3,000 miles away in Indonesia. Scientists measured it at 130 decibels and determined that it was about as loud as a jet plane taking off.

On April 6, 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker hit Bligh Reef in Alaska and spilled over 11 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound. The sound reached 184 decibels at 100 feet away from the center of the spill.

For these reasons, many people believe that the Krakatoa eruption is the loudest thing in the world. Because of this, it has been designated as “the loudest sound ever heard in history.”

So what makes the Krakatoa eruption so much louder than other things? The experts agree that when you take into account all of the facts, there is no louder sound in the world; however, there are many experts who disagree. The loudness of an explosion can vary depending on where it occurs and what is causing it.

Volcanic eruptions typically create long sound waves (sound travels at different speeds through different materials), rather than short pulses like most explosions create. According to many experts, the sound of the Krakatoa eruption was not only louder than the Exxon Valdez oil tanker accident but also it had a larger volume of sound energy.

Other Loud Sounds

Other experts believe that there is no record of anything louder than the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. This eruption is believed to have produced sounds so powerful that it could be heard over half a mile away. However, evidence shows that it may have been larger than 15 decibels. There are also other records of sounds so loud that they were thought to be more intense than an eruption of Mt Vesuvius; however, there is no way of verifying these claims with scientific data.

As we can see, there is no definitive answer to the question, what is the loudest thing in this world? Scientists believe that there is no loud sound in the world because of the fact that all sounds are affected by environment and man-made influences.

For example, a jet plane taking off can be heard several miles away; however, a gunshot a couple of feet away will hurt your ears more. So it really comes down to how you define “loudest sound” and how far away from it you are when you hear it.

The 13 loudest sounds (Probably!)

1. Krakatoa Eruption 1883 - 130 decibels

2. Exxon Valdez Oil Spill 1989 - 184 decibels

3. Concorde Aircraft Sound Barrier 1979 - 140 decibels

4. Space Shuttle Re-entry 1981 - 140 decibels

5. Saturn V Rocket Lift Off 1967 - 145 decibels

6. Space Shuttle Mach 25 Re-entry 2003 - 150 decibels

7. Tsar Bomba Explosion 1961 (estimated) - 250-300 decibels

8. Saturn I Rocket Launch 1961 - 135 decibels

9. Concorde Aircraft Sound Barrier 1979 (actual) - 140 decibels

10. Underground Explosion in Dynamite Mine, Fairbanks, Alaska 1989 - 184 decibels

11. Polaris Ballistic Missile Launch 1960 - 150 decibels

13. Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant 1986 (actual) - 180 decibels


So what is the loudest thing in the world? The decibel can be used to describe how loud something looks or sounds, but it cannot compare the intensity. So it remains a mystery as to what is actually the loudest object of whatever nature it might be, but I think we have given some good examples.

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Last update on 2023-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


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Nick Le Page

Experience : Hi, I am Nick, and I have suffered with ear problems my whole life, mainly tinnitus. I have tried a lot of products to help protect my ears over this period, and several devices to block out the constant ringing

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