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A customary logarithmic measure most commonly used (in various ways) for measuring sound. The human ear is capable of detecting an enormous range of sound intensities.

Furthermore, our perception is not linear. Experiment shows that when humans perceive one sound to be twice as loud as another, in fact the louder sound is about ten times as intense as the fainter one. For this reason, sound is measured on logarithmic scales.

Informally, if one sound is 1 bel (10 decibels) "louder" than another, this means the louder sound is 10 times louder than the fainter one. A difference of 20 decibels corresponds to an increase of 10 x 10 or 100 times in intensity. The beginning of the scale, 0 decibels, can be set in different ways, depending on exactly which aspect of sound is being measured.

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