Sound Measurement in dBA
When making practical assessments of the sound level of a concert or as a part of a general survey of ambient sound levels, the type of measurement which is usually made is that of the level in dBA. This measurement is made with a sound level meter with an A contour filter which provides the best instrument match of the ear's equal loudness curves for soft sounds in the neighborhood of 40 dB. When this filter, (which is one of the standard contour filters of most sound level meters) is used, the levels should be recorded as dBA rather than dB. The unit dB implies that all frequencies in the audible frequency range are treated equally - something very different from what the ear does. A good practice in sound level surveys is to measure all levels in both dBA and in the flat-response mode where the intensity in decibels (dB) is measured directly. Measurements made in dBA approximate the loudness level in phons and are practical to make with a standard meter.
Sound level measurement