One thing that Hull Fair is known for along with it providing a week of amusement, thrills, food and fun is the noise that it inevitably brings.
After all, it is Europe’s largest travelling fair so sounds and lights and a loud babble is something that comes with the territory.
If the rides did not have music blasting from them and there was not laughing and chatter audible from the fairgoers then it just would not be as fun.
But how loud actually is the noise that emanates from inside Hull Fair and the area surrounding it?
Hull Live reporter Anna Riley took a decibel monitor to the fair to find out – here is what she found.
A comparison of noise levels
The loudness of a sound is measured in decibels, or dB, which reflects the sensitivity of human ears to different levels and frequencies of sound. The higher the decibels, the louder the sound.
According to charity Action Hearing Loss, any noise with a decibel level higher than 85 could actually cause permanent hearing damage, but this would be over time.
To get an idea of how loud the noise at the fair was compared to everyday sounds, I had a look at examples of the level of decibels for different actions before I set off for the fair with my nifty sound device, which can be seen below.
- 40dB – a quiet library
- 60dB – ordinary spoken conversation
- 85dB – a food blender
- 88dB – heavy traffic
- 91dB – a pneumatic drill
- 97dB – an industrial fire alarm
- 100dB – a nightclub
- 110dB – a live gig or concert
- 130dB – an aeroplane taking off 100m away
The length of time you can ‘safely’ be exposed to sound over 85dB without needing to use hearing protection depends on how loud it is.
But you should only listen to sounds of above 94dB for no longer than an hour without using protection to guard your ears from the noise, according to Hear Smart.
140dB is the level at which noise causes pain for most people, although some people may find lower levels painful too.
The highest noise level recorded
The highest noise level that I recorded was 94dB when I was stood next to the waltzers, which granted, are pretty loud with all the music that blares from them, along with a person intermittently shouting things out on the microphone.
But 94dB is very loud, louder in fact than a pneumatic drill at 91dB and not far off the sound of an industrial fire alarm at 97dB or a nightclub at 100dB.
The general noise level
The general noise level that I recorded after walking extensively around the fair averaged at around 90dB, just fractionally lower than the noise of a pneumatic drill.
The areas that are not directly next to the rides, such as the hook a duck stands, were around 85dB, which is the same noise level as a food blender.
Along Walton Street where all the food stalls are, I picked up a maximum sound of 83dB, showing that there was still a high amount of noise, despite not being directly inside the fair.
But despite the high levels of sound, residents of Walton Street have previously told Hull Live they are not bothered by the noise outside their homes and truly embrace the spirit of Hull Fair, enjoying the atmosphere that it brings.
The lowest level recorded
The lowest level of noise that I recorded at the fair was 75dB, which is 5dB over the level of vacuum cleaner noise, so still pretty loud.
It was an interesting experiment to find out just how loud the fair is and it made me understand the need to shout at people to talk above the din of all the other background noise.
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