It can be surprising how loud things really are.
Ever wonder how loud your piccolo is?
The cafeteria doesn't top the list.
In the same way we use a thermometer to measure dangerous temperatures, we use our sound levels chart to gauge how dangerous a sound source has become. As the loudness or intensity increases, the amount of time we can safely spend near the sound decreases. For some of the most intense sounds, there is no safe amount of exposure!
It is difficult to measure the exact level of different instruments and musical genres. This is because the level depends on how loudly a single instrument is being played and the ensemble in which it is being played. The combination of instruments being plaid in conjunction with one another will affect the safe amount of time one can listen to any given instrument or group of instruments and as such no recommended safe listening times are given. The levels listed below specify how loudly an individual instrument can be played Ė keep in mind that they are not played at this level all the time, but the instruments played with them can also make them louder than the level listed here.