Audio Levels In Worship Environments

Sound can be over abused and very dangerous to people of all ages. Making sure you know the limits of what is too loud and what is safe is very important to your health as a sound technician; but most importantly, the health of everyone else. The suggestion of sound levels in church praise settings can be tricky and it all depends on the type of church denomination that you attend. Decisions on which instruments can and can not played and the type of worship songs and music played will differ the sound levels from one church to another.

How Are Sound Levels Calculated?

Sound levels are calculated in decibels or Db’s. Measuring your church’s decibel levels frequently is significant. Finding these decibel levels out, in your church worship center, is rather easy. There are devices that can calculate the sound pressure level that is being amplified in your worship sanctuary. A handy category of these instruments are called Digital SPL (Sound Pressure Level) meters.

Radio Shack (or The Source) is a great place to look for these units. These units will give an approximate sound level reading of a given environment. They will run between $20-$50 and should never be over looked and must be used in every church. The use of these tools is very easy. Point the SPL meter towards the sound source and the given reading of the level will be displayed in either a digital or analog (needle) form. Make sure you read the instructions on your SPL meter to ensure you have the proper settings and readings calibrated to your needs.

What Is Too Loud?

The concept of sound and its properties on the human ear, psychoacoustics, is very fascinating. Sound damage to the ear will consist of two points. The time exposed to a given level and the decibel, sound pressure level. Both are important in understanding how sound can damage hearing and how to protect your self and others from the damage. The longer one is exposed to a given level, the faster and worse the effects on the ear will be. I suggest measuring levels sporadically during the first few song practices and during the services. Check out, Safe Sound Pressure Levels, to find out what exacly is too loud.


Sound levels in all situations should always be conceited and never over looked. For people running sound and even the musicians on stage, the sound pressure level is very important to know. Make sure you know the safe pressure levels to run your church sound.

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