Enter the base intensity and the compared intensity into the calculator to determine the decibel difference. This calculator helps to compare the intensity levels of two different sounds.

Decibel Difference Formula

The following formula is used to calculate the decibel difference between two sound intensities.

ΔL = 10 * log₁₀(I₁ / I₀)


  • ΔL is the decibel difference (dB)
  • I₁ is the compared intensity (W/m²)
  • I₀ is the base intensity (W/m²)

To calculate the decibel difference, multiply 10 by the logarithm base 10 of the ratio of the compared intensity to the base intensity.

What is Decibel Difference?

Decibel difference is a logarithmic measure of the ratio of two sound intensities. It is used to express the relative difference in power or intensity between two sounds. The decibel scale is a convenient way to represent large variations in intensity, as it compresses the scale of numbers into a more manageable range. This measure is widely used in acoustics, audio engineering, and other fields where sound intensity needs to be compared or monitored.

How to Calculate Decibel Difference?

The following steps outline how to calculate the Decibel Difference.

  1. First, determine the base intensity (I₀) in watts per square meter (W/m²).
  2. Next, determine the compared intensity (I₁) in watts per square meter (W/m²).
  3. Next, gather the formula from above = ΔL = 10 * log₁₀(I₁ / I₀).
  4. Finally, calculate the Decibel Difference (ΔL) in decibels (dB).
  5. After inserting the variables and calculating the result, check your answer with the calculator above.

Example Problem : 

Use the following variables as an example problem to test your knowledge.

base intensity (I₀) = 1e-12 W/m² (threshold of hearing)

compared intensity (I₁) = 1e-6 W/m² (average conversation)