How Loud is Too Loud

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In this activity (described on pages 39-42 of PDF), learners make a paper wheel (on pages 57-60 of PDF) that shows them the relative loudness of different sounds. The wheel also describes how long it's safe to listen to that sound without hearing protection. Sounds listed include jackhammers, airplanes, talking, rock concerts, traffic, chainsaws and headphones. The activity also has information about good strategies to protect your hearing, and about the medical details of noice-induced hearing loss. Learners can test their knowledge by playing the associated online interactive linked as a related resource.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Scissors
  • Glue or Scotch tape
  • Pieces “1” & “2” in Appendix F, pages 57-60 of PDF
  • Thumb tacks or brads


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Body
      • Health and Nutrition
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Hearing
  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Sound


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



Funding Source:

  • National Institutes of Health, National Center for Research Resources, "Science Education Partnerships Award", R25 RR15634