I found this on a blog post about AR noise. I have copied in the whole post. Another one I read said the AR pistol came in at 170 decibels. If it was me, suppressor time.
Facts on noise levels:
- Decibels measure sound pressure and are logarithmic. That means that only a 3db increase almost doubles sound pressure, a 6db increase quadruples sound pressure, etc.
- Gradual hearing loss may occur after prolonged exposure to 90 decibels or above.
- Exposure to 100 decibels for more than 15 minutes can cause hearing loss.
- Exposure to 110 decibels for more than a minute can cause permanent hearing loss.
- At 140 dBA noise causes immediate injury to almost any unprotected ear.
- There is also the more extreme ‘acoustic trauma’, which is an immediate loss of hearing after a sudden, exceptionally loud noise such as an explosion.
Comparative noise levels and length of time for damage to occur
Jet engine taking off 140 dB Instant damage
Thunder/Ambulance siren 119 dB 3 minutes
Hammer drill 113 dB 15 minutes
Chain saw/Earphones/Concert 110 dB 30 minutes
Bull Dozer 105 dB 1 hour
Tractor/Power tools 96 dB 4 hour
Hairdryer/lawnmower 90 dB 8 hours
Noise levels of firearms:
.22 caliber rifle 130dB
.223, 55GR. Commercial load 18" barrel 155.5dB
.243 in 22" barrel 155.9dB
.30-30 in 20" barrel 156.0dB.
7mm Magnum in 20" barrel 157.5dB.
.308 in 24" barrel 156.2dB.
.30-06 in 24" barrel 158.5dB. In 18" barrel 163.2dB.
.375 18" barrel with muzzle brake 170 dB.
.410 Bore 28" barrel 150dB. 26" barrel 150.25dB. 18" barrel 156.30dB.
20 Gauge 28" barrel 152.50dB. 22" barrel 154.75dB.
12 Gauge 28" barrel 151.50dB. 26" barrel 156.10dB. 18" barrel 161.50dB.
.25 ACP 155.0 dB.
.32 LONG 152.4 dB.
.32 ACP 153.5 dB.
.380 157.7 dB.
9mm 159.8 dB.
.38 S&W 153.5 dB.
.38 Spl 156.3 dB.
.357 Magnum 164.3 dB.
.41 Magnum 163.2 dB.
.44 Spl 155.9 dB.
.45 ACP 157.0 dB.
.45 COLT 154.7 dB.
Properly fitted earplugs or muffs reduce noise 15 to 30 dB. The better earplugs and muffs are approximately equal in sound reductions, although earplugs are better for low frequency noise and earmuffs for high frequency noise.
Using muffs and plugs together: Take the higher of the two and add 5 dB. 30 plug with 20 muff gives an effective NRR of 35.
If you are shooting by yourself, with plugs and muffs on, you get to shoot up to a thousand rounds without damage (louder ammo/gun and the allowable drops by a factor of 5). Shoot with other people and you have to add all the rounds shot cumulatively (10 people shoot 100 rounds and everybody’s done for the day; toss a handcannon or 30 cal rifle in and you’re back down to 200 rounds cumulative). If you shoot on an indoor range then all the rounds fired while you are on the range go into your total. So you can see that it doesn’t take very long on a range to have a thousand rounds popped off around you.
Don’t forget about bone conduction of concusive sound waves. The mastoid bone will transmit the sound vibrations directly to you inner ear where the cochela and the hearing nerves resides. Constant exposure to this kind of concusive sound waves, ie: 50 BMG, industrial heavey machinery, will result in the degradation of your hearing quality. Even with ear muffs, bone conduction is a big factor in hearing.