Human hearing is determined by the sound pressure, the loudness perception of which is reflected in the hearing characteristic. The hearing characteristic is limited by the hearing threshold
and the pain threshold. Pain threshold
hearing characteristicThe pain threshold is the sound pressure at which the volume causes pain. It is frequency dependent and falls at higher frequencies, and also depends on musical taste. Generally, the pain threshold is considered to be 130 decibel sound pressure level
(dBSPL), which drops to 120 dBSPL at higher frequencies. As a rating for excessive volumes that could reach the pain threshold, there is the dB(C) rating curve, which gives a volume rating at 90 phon.