It is important to estimate the decibels of your headphones to maintain the safe volume of your headphones or Android phone. This ensures that you are always safe, no matter what headphones you use.

To avoid hearing damage, you should use a safe headphone volume level, and to know this, it’s advisable to learn how to measure headphone decibels.

By measuring the decibels, you can know whether the volume you are using is safe for your ears or not. In this post, we’ll be looking at the different ways to measure the decibels of your headphones.

How to estimate the headphone volume using the usual sounds

You can determine the volume of your headphones by comparing them to other sources of noise. This won’t be very accurate, but you can tell if your headphones are too loud or not.

If they are excessively loud, there is a risk that your ears may experience problems. This is the main reason why it’s of the utmost importance to ensure that your headphones are set to a healthy decibel. Below are three easy ways to determine the volume of your headphones;

Compare with your breathing

The first thing you can compare your headphones with is your breathing. This is because your breathing produces zero decibels. If you don’t hear anything on your headphones while breathing, you should know that they produce zero decibels. At these levels, you cannot hear anything and are therefore completely safe.

Compare your headphone volume with the environment

You can also find out the decibels of your headphones by comparing them with free traffic when it’s fifty feet away. If you can’t hear the music that is on your ears when you are fifty feet from traffic, you should know that the headphones have high decibels.

Such a noise level could not affect you in the short term. But if you keep using it long term, it will eventually affect your ears. This is true, regardless of the type of headphones you use.

Comparison of the volume level

The third technique you can use to determine the decimal places of the headphones you use is steelworks and chainsaws. This is mainly because they are louder than any headphones. If you have your headphones on and can still hear the steelworks and chainsaws, you should know that the decibels are too high.

This particular level of decibels can easily lead to health problems in your ears. If you are too loud, reduce the volume until you are sure that your ears are absolutely safe.

In the following table, the rising decibel levels are assigned to the usual noise sources. In addition, information about hearing damage, caused by exposure to the individual noise levels, is given:

Decibel Levels of Common Noise Source

Decibels Example Sources Health effects
0 Silence None
10 Breathing None
20 Whispering None
30 Quiet rural background noise None
40 Library noises, quiet urban background noise None
50 Relaxed conversation, ordinary suburban activity None
60 Busy office or restaurant noise, loud conversation None
70 TV volume, Freeway traffic at 50 feet (15.2 meters) None; unpleasant for some
80 Factory noise, food processor, car wash at 20 feet (6.1 meters) Possible hearing damage after lengthy exposure
90 Lawnmower, motorcycle at 25 feet (7.62 meters) Likely hearing damage after lengthy exposure
100 Outboard motor, jackhammer Serious damage likely after lengthy exposure
110 Loud rock concert, steel mill May be immediately painful; damage after lengthy exposure very likely
120 Chainsaw, thunderclap Usually immediately painful
130-150 Jet takeoffs on the aircraft carrier deck Immediate hearing loss or eardrum rupture possible


How to measure headphone decibels with instruments

There are also tools and instruments specifically designed to measure the decibels of different types of headphones. These tools are readily available and some of them are free. You don’t have to spend any money to know the specific decibels of your headphones.

First of all, you can use your computer to measure the specific decibels of your headphones. You can download a free application, such as Get Decibel Meter, to read decibels. You can easily download this app from the Microsoft Apps Store.

After downloading the software, it will use your computer’s microphone to measure decibel levels. It only takes a few megabytes to download this app, so all you need is an internet connection.

Use your computer  

With the right programs and equipment, it is not difficult to measure the decibel level of a sound with the computer. Below are just a few ways to do this. Keep in mind that better recording devices always produce better results. In other words, while your computer’s standard internal microphone is sufficient for some tasks, a high-quality external microphone is much more accurate.

If you are running Windows 8, try downloading the free Get Audio Meter app from the Microsoft App Store. The app uses your computer’s microphone to read sounds up to 96dB. Similar devices are available in the iTunes App Store for Apple products.

You can also try using a third-party program to measure decibels. For example, Audacity, a free sound recording program, includes a simple built-in decibel meter.

Use a mobile application    

Mobile apps can be extremely convenient for measuring sound levels on the go. Although your mobile device’s microphone may not be as high quality as the external microphones that you can connect to a computer, they can be surprisingly accurate. For example, it is not uncommon for mobile application measurements to differ by no more than 5 decibels from professional device readings. Below is a brief list of applications for reading decibels that are available for popular mobile platforms:

Use a professional decibel meter    

While it’s usually not cheap, perhaps the most straightforward and accurate way to find the decibel level of a sound is by using a decibel meter. This special tool, also known as the “sound level meter” (available in online shops and specialty stores) uses a sensitive microphone to measure the amount of noise in the area and give you a precise decibel value.

Since there is generally no large market for these tools, they can be a little expensive – often at least $ 200, even for cheap models.

Note that decibel/sound level meters can have other names. Another type of device, known as a “noise dosimeter”, basically performs the same function as a standard sound level meter.

Using your smartphone  

You can also use your smartphone to measure the decibel of your headphones. This is despite the fact that your smartphone’s mic may not be as strong as the microphones on your headphones.

It mainly depends on the type of phone you are using. If you use a high-quality smartphone, you can measure even the highest decibels.

A good example is if you’re using an Apple smartphone that has the ability to measure different decibels. With an Apple device, you can use a decibel meter or Sound Meter to determine the decibels of your specific headphones.

When it comes to Windows phones, you can also use a similar app, such as Get Decibel Meter. All you have to do is identify the right application and simply download it.

The decibel meter apps don’t take up much space. This means that you can easily download them even if your phone doesn’t have a lot of space. As with singing on a computer, all you have to do is make sure your phone has an internet connection.

Derive decibels mathematically

Find the intensity of your sound in watts / square meter    

For everyday practical purposes, decibels are usually viewed as a simple measure of volume. However, the truth is, it’s a little more complex.

In physics, decibels are often seen as a convenient way to express the intensity of a sound wave. The greater the amplitude of a particular sound wave, the more energy it transmits, the more it moves the air particles on their way and the “more intense” the sound.

Because of this direct relationship between the intensity of a sound wave and its volume in decibels, it is possible to find a decibel value that gives nothing but an intensity level for the sound (which is usually measured in watts per meter square).

Note that with ordinary tones, the intensity value is usually very small. For example, a tone with an intensity of 5 × 10-5 (or 0.00005) watts per meter square corresponds to about 80 decibels — about the volume of a mixer or a food processor.

To better understand the relationship between intensity measurements and decibels, let’s follow an example problem.

For the purposes of this problem, we assume that we are music producers and try to find the background noise level in our recording studio to improve the sound of our records.

After installing our devices, we notice a background noise intensity of 1 × 10-11 (0.0000000000001) watts/ meter square. In the next few steps, we will use this information to determine the decibel level of the background noise in our studio.

Divide by 10-12  

Once you’ve found the intensity of your sound, you can use it easily into the formula 10Log10 (I/10-12), where I is their intensity in watts/meter square). This is the formula to determine its decibel.

First divide by 10-12 (0.00000000000001). 10-12 stands for the intensity of a tone of 0 decibels, so if you compare your intensity value with this, you will essentially find its relationship to this base value.

For example, we would divide our intensity value, 10-11, by 10-12 to get 10.

Take the Log10 of your answer and multiply it by 10  

To finish the solution, all you need to do is take the log base 10 of your answer and then multiply it by 10.

This explains the fact that decibels are base 10 logarithmic units — in other words, an increase of 10 decibels means that the volume of the sound has doubled.

For example, log1010 = 1.0 × 10 = 10. Therefore, the background noise in our studio has a volume of 10 decibels. Although this is quite quiet, it is still recognizable with our high-quality recording devices, so that for the best recordings we probably have to eliminate the source of the noise.

Understand the logarithmic nature of decibel values    

As mentioned above, decibels are logarithmic units with a base of 10. At any decibel value, 10 decibels of noise is twice as loud, 20 decibels of noise is four times as loud, and so on.

This makes it easy to describe the wide range of sound intensities that can be picked up by the human ear. The loudest sound the ear can hear without feeling pain is more than a billion times more intense than the quietest noise it can hear.

By using decibels, we avoid using huge numbers to describe ordinary sounds – instead, we only need to use a maximum of three digits.

Think about it, which is easier to use: 55 decibels or 3 × 10-7 watts/meter square? The two are equivalent, so instead of using the scientific notation (or a very small decimal place), we can use a simple shorthand notation for everyday use.


It is clear that you can improve the health of your ears by determining the decibel level of your headphones. Most people usually use their headphones without knowing the decibel levels. There is a risk that they’ve too high decibel levels.

If you can set the specific levels of decibels on your headphones, you can keep your ears safe. You don’t have to spend any money to determine the specific decibels of your headphones. You can use the basic methods for determining the decibel us.

However, if you want to get more accurate results, you may have to spend some money. It is possible to combine different methods or to use only one method; the result is, you gain the crucial knowledge of how to measure headphone decibels.

It totally depends on the results you want to get. If you are very interested in it, it is advisable to use the different methods above so that you can get the right results. This guide provides helpful information that will help you determine the specific decibels of your headphones and thus protect your ears.

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