How do you calculate daily noise exposures?

From experience, this is one of areas of noise assessment which is a fairly consistent cause of confusion, and not just among those who are new to it. The issue arises because the 80 and 85 dB(A) limits are calculated over an exposure time of eight hours therefore if the limit is for eight hours then surely the measurement time needs to be eight hours as well, right?

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Making (a bit of) sense of decibels

A basic principle of noise measurement which all newbies to the subject should be aware of is that the decibel scale was invented by someone who had just spent a long long weekend taking a wide variety of illegal drugs. It only makes sense to maths geniuses and to the rest of us it is a touch bonkers. It is a logarithmic scale which means 2 plus 2 doesn't always equal four, that would be too easy. 

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Difference between Noise and Sound

All the way through this site you'll see me talk about 'noise' rather than 'sound' - is that important? 

For science types yes, there is a difference between the two terms and they will always, for example, refer to a 'noise meter' as a 'sound level meter', and that is technically the correct terminology as the meter is measuring sound, or even more accurately, pressure. Normal people however just use the term 'noise' and that’s perfectly fine.

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Noise acronyms and terminology

Us noise people are fragile souls with a pitifully small sense of self-worth, so to build our egos up a little we like to use loads of terminology and acronyms and other gubbins to make it look like we know stuff that normal people don't and this makes us feel good. What we don't admit is that normal people don't actually want to know this stuff anyway as they have a life. Anyway, as noise assessments are littered with jargon, here is a page explaining what the various bits mean.

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