2.4.2 Sound pressure (Pa) | Owners Corporation Network

2.4.2 Sound pressure (Pa)

Sound pressure is the amount of air pressure fluctuation a noise source creates. We "hear" or perceive sound pressure as loudness.

Even very loud sounds produce pressure fluctuations which are extremely small (1 in 10,000) compared to ambient air pressure (i.e. atmospheric pressure).

The measurement of sound determines how loud something is, whether it is too noisy, or even whether it is safe to be near. A sound level meter is the principal instrument for general noise measurement. The indication on a sound level meter (aside from weighting considerations) indicates the sound pressure, p, as a level referenced to 0.00002 Pa.

Sound pressure also depends on the environment in which the source is located and the listener's distance from the source. The way sound decays with distance from the source is dependent on the size and shape of the source and also the surrounding environment and prevailing air currents. It is relatively simple to calculate provided the source is small and outdoors, but indoor calculations (in a reverberant field) are rather more complex.