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What is the minimum change in loudness (units:decibels) that the human ears and by extension the human brain can recognise?

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A change in sound intensity of 1dB is detectable for soft sounds. Low frequencies can require 30-40dB changes to be noticeable. Changes in loud sounds can be noticed with at little at 0.5dB. Whether a specific change in sound intensity is detectable would depend on the absolute loudness, frequency, and the individual listener.

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  • $\begingroup$ If it was the hum of a running electric vehicle, would it still be noticeable? $\endgroup$ Apr 24 '16 at 10:08
  • $\begingroup$ I don't know. My best guess would be that the high pitch whine of the motor would require more decibels to be detected and the rumble of vibration and road noise would be about average. $\endgroup$
    – user235504
    Apr 24 '16 at 10:10

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