How Loud Can Sound Get?

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Sound and acoustics often intersect with fluid dynamics. Most of the sounds we experience are pressure waves traveling through air. In this video, Joe of It’s Okay To Be Smart takes a closer look at sound: what it is; how we measure it; and just how loud a sound can get. For air at sea level, the loudest possible sound is 194 dB. Add any more energy and it distorts the pressure wave from what we recognize as sound into what’s known as a shock wave. (Video credit: It’s Okay To Be Smart/PBS Digital Studios)

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