Sound can be a beautiful thing — the melody of an orchestra, the rustle of leaves, the soothing consistency of rain. It can also be, well, not so beautiful. Clanking pots and pans, nails on a chalkboard, and the screeching of an upset infant come to mind as examples. Though the tone and purpose of a sound definitely have an impact on if we perceive it as pleasurable or not, one thing everyone can agree on is that super loud noises are no good. While some can cause hearing loss over extended exposure or a single blast, the loudest noises even have the power to kill you by rupturing your brain.

Sounds are measured by decibels, a unit used to determine the intensity of a sound. The way the scale works is a little odd, since human hearing is incredibly sensitive. The faintest audible sound (near silence) is measured as 1dB. A sound 10 times that strength would be measured at 2dB, and a sound 100 times stronger than the 0dB sound would be 2dB. Despite the system, there are still discrepancies about exactly how loud certain sounds are, since a lot of factors (distance from sound, individual hearing damage) can influence a measurement.

A London-based air conditioning company has conducted a fresh round of research, and displayed the results in this interactive infographic: