One of the most controversial aspects of fireworks is the sound. While there are many who absolutely love the bangs, crackles and whistles, there are many who’d consider fireworks extremely loud.
People who are surprised by the sudden bang of fireworks often say the sound nearly got them killed. While it is true that sound waves could potentially be lethal, fireworks don’t actually reach deadly levels.
Vibrations in the air create sound. The air vibrates by moving from air molecules to the other, which is why a vacuum is the only place where sound can’t travel. So, it is possible to measure the loudness of the sound by focusing on the air vibrations.
Sound is commonly measured on the decibel (dB) scale. The scale uses complex logarithms, which help simplify the sound differences. When you look at the decibel scales, you can’t directly see how much louder a specific noise is in comparison to another sound.
As an example, a whisper measures 15dB, while a jet engine can reach up to 120dB. Yet, a jet engine isn’t eight times louder than a whisper, but rather 1,000,0000,0000,0000 times more powerful!
But where does a firework fall in the decibel scale? Here are some of the most common sounds with their decibel measures:
- Normal conversation 60dB
- Car engine 70dB
- Jackhammer 100dB
- A band playing 110dB
- Legal limit of fireworks 120dB
- Aircraft take-off 180dB
Our War Hawks rockets, for example, belong to the highest noise level group, which is five (We measure the noise level from 1 to 5).
Are All Fireworks the Same?
As the above shows, the UK noise limit for fireworks is 120dB. But this doesn’t mean fireworks all make the same amount of noise. In fact, firework manufacturers have been able to come up with low noise fireworks.
There are also further noise guidelines to ensure you don’t damage your hearing with loud things such as fireworks. For example, the EU has a law that means a person can’t work over eight hours in an environment that would exceed 89db on a continuous basis.
So while the 120dB bang fireworks make is quite a loud noise, the sudden burst doesn’t cause damage because it isn’t a sustained noise. While your heart might jump into your throat when the bangs go off, your ears will return to normal after a few minutes.
As we mentioned above, if you are worried about the loud noise – kids and pets can easily find the noise too much – the low noise options are a fantastic alternative to the loud bangs.
Compare the War Hawks to the below video of Kronos Fountain and you can hear the difference.