Instruments used for noise measurement

Noise measurement instrumentation

Antiquity can provide commercial, industrial, and/or residential noise measurement and monitoring services in the following areas:

  • Residential Development and Environmental Noise Measurement
  • Community noise
  • Traffic Noise
  • Nuisance noise; effects on people

In addition, Antiquity provides services in disputed matters to the level of an expert witness.

Community Noise

Noise can be caused by traffic, neighbors, construction, aircraft, or industrial processes.

Noise can cause hearing impairment, interference with communications, disturb sleep, cause cardiovascular and psychophysiological effects, reduce performance, and provoke annoyance responses and changes in social behavior.  Electrophysiological and behavioral methods have demonstrated that both continuous and intermittent noise indoors has led to sleep disturbance.

Subjective effects have been identified, such as difficulty in falling asleep, perceived sleep quality, and adverse after-effects such as a headache and tiredness. Sensitive groups mainly include elderly persons, shift workers and persons with physical or mental disorders.

The more intense the background noise the more disturbing is its effect on sleep. Measurable effects on sleep start at background noise levels of about 30 dBA Leq. During sleep, the body cycles between non-REM and REM sleep. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines for good sleep, sound levels should not exceed 30 decibels for continuous background noise and 45 decibels for individual noise events.

The following table on indicates the effects on sleep at sound pressure levels measured as Leq (dBA) from 30 dBA to 55 dBA.

Sound Equivalent Levels (Leq dBA) and Effects



Leq (dBA)

Time of Day

Time (hours)


sleep disturbance, annoyance

> 30



Living area

annoyance, speech interference

> 50



Outdoor living area

moderate annoyance

> 50



Outdoor living area

serious annoyance

> 55



Outdoor living area

sleep disturbance, with open windows

> 45



School classroom

speech interference, communication disturbance

> 35



Hospitals patient rooms

sleep disturbance, communication interference

> 30-35

Day &



Many municipalities in Canada and including the Lower Mainland are amending their current noise bylaws.  The proposed Bylaw amendments would limit sound from heat pumps and similar devices to typical North American standards, which are considered to be 50 to 55 dBA during the day and 45 dBA at night at the property line or the perceived point of reception.  Noise measurement and monitoring services can not only protect your hearing and sleep but also keep you within the new bylaws.

Workplace Noise

Employers  in BC are responsible for knowing which workers are overexposed to noise.  The Occupational Health and Safety Regulation sets exposure limits for noise at 85 dBA (Lex) and a peak noise level of 140 dBC.

When workers are or may be exposed to noise above 82 dBA Lex employers must measure the noise exposure unless an exemption applies (see page 7 of WorkSafe BC Publication “Sound Advice”). How loud is 82 dBA? If you have to raise your voice in your workplace to carry on a conversation, then the noise level is likely over 82 dBA.

Workplace noise measurements:

  • Identifies significant sources of noise in the workplace and helps prioritize them for noise  control measures.
  • Determines noise exposures of workers and identifies workers who require hearing protection, hearing testing, education, and training.
  • Determines workplace areas that should be posted as hazardous noise.

When noise exceeds regulated limits, employers must have an effective noise control and hearing loss prevention program. The regulated limit set by the WorkSafeBC for noise exposure in B.C. is 85 decibels (dBA) for an eight-hour period, or an equivalent noise exposure of one Pascal-squared hour (Pa2h).

For impact noises (for example, pile driving or hammering), a 140-dBC peak sound level cannot be exceeded. The goal of a hearing loss prevention program is to reduce the noise exposure of workers to a safe level and prevent occupational hearing loss.  By having a noise measurement taken at your place of business and work, you can make sure that the noise is within healthy limits for you and your employees.

Hearing loss prevention programs must address:

• Noise measurement

• Education and training

• Engineered noise control

• Hearing protection

• Posting of noise hazard areas

• Hearing tests

• Annual program review


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