Measuring the distance from sound
Last week we discussed how sound is measured in decibels and how the level of the decibels equate to the level of the sound. Today we will discuss how the distance from a sound's origination changes the sounds loudness and intensity.
As distance from the sound source increases, the area covered by the sound waves increases. The same amount of energy is spread over a greater area, so the intensity and loudness of the sound is less. This explains why even loud sounds fade away as you move farther from the source.
Sound does not change with distance, but the volume decreases with increasing distance. This concept is known as the inverse square law.
You can combine inverse square law and the rules of thumb for decibels. Each time distance is doubled, intensity is cut by a factor of four. Since each time intensity is cut in half the sound level decreases by 3 decibels, it follows that doubling distance reduces the sound level by 6 decibels.
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