by Brian Clarey


45 DB — PROPOSED LIMIT FOR GREENSBORO It’s getting noisy in Greensboro, specifically downtown — you know, that district we’ve been investing in and touting as one of the things that makes our city great? Yeah, that. There is a movement afoot to curb this noise with a new ordinance, one that reduces the acceptable level of noise in the city after 11 p.m. to 45 decibels, down from 65 dB, with a $500 fine imposed on those who break it. If this passes, you better keep your checkbook handy, because as you’ll see, 45 db is not a lot of noise.

180 DB — A PLANE TAKING OFF Planes are loud — just ask anyone who lives near an airport. If you’re standing on the ground while one takes off, the sound will hit 180 dB before softening as it rises in the air, where it can still be pretty loud. But as someone who grew up near two of the busiest airports in the world, I can assure you that you get used to it.

140 DB — FIREWORKS Everyone can agree that fireworks are awesome. But so loud! This ordinance could be a real problem for NewBridge Bank Park, where Friday and Saturday night fireworks have become a summertime tradition. The hometown Grasshoppers also celebrate home runs with firework blasts, but under the proposed rules, if a game goes into extra innings we’ll just have to celebrate by putting on mittens and clapping quietly.

115 DB — ROCK CONCERT I suppose it depends on the concert and where you’re sitting, but a concertgoer in the average seat at the average concert can expect to endure music at 115 dB. It is also worth noting that, most of the time, music and noise are not the same thing.

110 DB — CHAINSAW A running chainsaw creates 110 dB of noise. It gets louder when you’re trying to cut a truck in half with it.

100 DB — MOTORCYCLE Unless you’ve removed the stock muffler from your Harley, it will make about 100 dB of blood-churning noise. And it looks like these bad boys are illegal on the streets of Greensboro.

90 DB — LAWNMOWER As you push your mower across your lawn — again! — you’re exposing yourself to 90 dB of noise. So don’t go doing any night mowing in Greensboro unless you have a spare $500.

80 DB — VACUUM CLEANER, CITY TRAFFIC A standard vacuum cleaner registers 80 dB on the noise scale; it only seems louder when you’re trying to watch the game. Normal city traffic also breaks this threshold, which is going to play hell with the proposed ordinance.

60-70 DB — NORMAL CONVERSATION That’s right, normal conversation — giving directions, telling a story, listening to a friend crap on and on and on about her boyfriend problems — registers up to 70 dB from a foot away. This may be a good time to brush up on your American Sign Language.

40 DB — A REFRIGERATOR Yep, that infernal humming of your refrigerator is loud enough to hit 40 dB on the standard scale. No wonder you got rid of it years ago! But at 40 dB, it falls under the proposed 45 dB threshold, which means that if the new ordinance goes through there will be nothing left downtown but refrigerators and mimes.

*Approximate measures