Can You Hear a 1-dB Change?

Decibels are commonly used in electronic communications to describe and compare signal levels. I’ve often heard that one dB is considered to be the smallest change that a typical person can detect by ear. I recently came across this website that is set up to generate different audio tones and to do a blind test of how small of a change you can detect.

I started with testing for 6-dB and 3-dB changes. Easy Peasy. Then I tried the 1-dB test. I could detect the change in level fairly consistently but I did have to concentrate. Continuing on to the 0.5-dB change, I had a very high failure rate. It was very difficult to detect that small of a change. So I have to conclude that 1 dB is about the limit for a change I can hear.

How about you? Take the test on the website and let us know how you did.

There are many other audio tests to explore on that site, including the highest frequency you can hear, the minimum pitch change you can hear, etc. Check it out:

73 Bob K0NR

The post Can You Hear a 1-dB Change? appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.

Bob Witte, KØNR, is a regular contributor to and writes from Colorado, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

2 Responses to “Can You Hear a 1-dB Change?”

  • Tom K4ZAD:

    This is the 1 DB definition that I like” One DB is the amount that your teenage son will turn down the music volume when told it’s too loud.

  • Cliff KU4GW:

    Thanks for the info Bob! I’m going to share the link on social media with my ham friends in several and amateur radio groups. I haven’t tried the test, but will try to remember to post an update of my results when I do. I worked in a finishing department as a pumphouse operator and was in 60 dB of noise pretty much 80% of the time for 24 years, 20 at Broyhill Furniture Industries and the other 4 years at Bassett Furniture Industries, and I know I have a slight hearing loss in my right ear, but one thing I did do was I always wore -23 dB hearing protection=foam earplugs.

    Very 73 de KU4GW

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