Sound is an incredible force. Along with light, sound is one of our primary sources of precise perception. Some would argue that hearing and vision are our two most advanced and useful senses, and that is easy to believe.
Sound is capable of many extraordinary things, for example, look at what happens when a plane goes faster than the speed of sound. A plane that travels faster than the speed of sound at its current altitude will form a sonic boom, which is essentially an explosion of air caused by the aircraft flying so fast.
While sound is one of the most intriguing and complicated phenomena on this planet, you will find that it is also a force to be reckoned with, as you will learn today. Throughout this article, we are going to be looking at some of the loudest sounds in existence, and they can do far more than just deafen you.
If something is about to be propelled into space, you can rest assured that it will have to be loud. We simply haven’t reached the technological level where we can create machines which are powerful enough to launch something into orbit while simultaneously remaining quiet. NASA launch crews make use of heavy-duty ear protectors.
If you are near enough to a rocket launch to be exposed to the brunt of the sound, you would likely be killed by the vibrations in the air alone (if you weren’t killed by the flames and heat). The Saturn V rocket was measured at around 204 decibels, which is one of the loudest sounds ever recorded.
Sticking to the subject of aeronautics, you will find that a jet engine is not that far behind a rocket when it comes to the amount of noise which is produced. A rocket engine and a jet engine are only similar in that they reach extremely high temperatures and they are used to propel aircraft, bearing minimal mechanical resemblance.
Where a rocket engine makes use of rocket fuel to create thrust independent of atmospheric air, you will find that a jet engine is air-breathing in nature, which is why they won’t work in space. Even at a distance of 100 feet away, a jet engine can be up to 140 decibels in volume. It is for this reason that ear protection is critical in airports.
The call of a sperm whale is the single loudest sound made by a natural organism. Registering at 174 decibels, this sound is immense, and it must be to travel through miles upon miles of open ocean and untold fathoms of depths. Why does a sperm whale need to be so loud, you may be wondering?
When a sperm whale makes a call, they are not always calling out to other animals, in fact, this is rarely the case. A sperm whale call serves the same purpose as the screech of a bat: echolocation. Through echolocation, a sperm whale will be able to find its way through the ocean, much like a submarine.
Of course, thunder also has to make the list. Thunder is essentially a natural explosion, so it makes sense that it would be one of the loudest sounds that you can hear. Nearby thunder is likely one of the few sounds on this list that most of our readers have heard, as the other sounds are somewhat rare.
Even if you are not struck by lightning directly, you can end up suffering as a result of the thunder’s sheer volume. Sounding out at up to 120 decibels, a nearby thunderclap can permanently deafen you if you are unlucky. Regardless, this is just one more reason to dislike thunderstorms.
If you have never been near a cannon when it fires, the first time will be an eye-opening experience. It is almost impossible to look at explosions the same way after you have experienced one in real life. Cannon fire can knock you off your feet due to the sheer physical sensation that you get if you are unprepared.
Since it is unlikely that you will be exposed to cannon fire unless you are in the military, there is little reason to worry about it affecting your hearing. If you are wondering how soldiers protect themselves from the effects of cannon fire, the answer is that they make use of ear muffs and ear plugs.
That's it for our list of the loudest sounds on the planet, both humanmade and otherwise. We hope that we have not missed anything. Feel free to let us know some of your thoughts in the comments section down below.