Why dB?

Talk and Listen

Alexander Graham Bell, a pioneer in the field of telecommunications, was born in 1847 in Scotland. He moved to Boston before beginning his career as an inventor and later settled in Ontario and Nova Scotia.

Throughout his life, Bell had an interest in the phenomenon of sound and the sense of hearing. This interest led him to invent the

microphone and, in 1876, his "electrical speech machine", which we now call the telephone. After inventing the telephone, Bell continued his experiments in communication and also invented techniques for teaching speech to the deaf.

The term "bel", named after Alexander Graham Bell, is a unit for expressing the loudness of sound. A decibel (dB) is one tenth of a bel. The decibel represents about the smallest change in sound intensity level that the human ear can detect. The audiometer used to test your hearing is capable of producing pure tone sounds from 0 dB hearing level (quietest) to 120 dB (extremely loud) hearing level.

Bell's "Electrical speech machine" paved the way for much of today's telecommunications industry including the technology used to test your hearing. On the 150th anniversary of Alexander Graham Bell's birth, dB Hearing opened its first permanent clinic in Timmins.