13 of the world's loudest musical instruments (2023)

After going to a loud concert, your ears can ring for hours. This is because the instruments played are so loud that they actually damage parts of the ear. Fortunately, your body is resilient, but loud noises can be dangerous and can leave you deaf.

According to experts, prolonged exposure to noise above 70 decibels can cause hearing loss, and sounds of 120 decibels can immediately damage your ears. The craziest thing is that there are several musical instruments that can exceed 120 decibels.

Which instruments should you be careful not to get too close to? Let's find out.


1. Organ pipes

When it comes to the loudest musical instrument of all time, first on the list has to be theorgan. Pipe organs can be huge and therefore produce deafening sounds.

othe loudest pipe organ ever playedit was Vox Maris, located in Urspringen, Germany. When tested, the organ produced sounds of 138.4 decibels.

That's loud enough to immediately cause lasting damage to someone's ears.

Therefore, whoever plays or listens to the Vox Maris should be careful if the organ is going to be played at full volume.

2. Electric guitar

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despiteElectric guitarreceives a little help from an amplification system, it's important to note that this instrument has been responsible for ear damage for many concertgoers.

The loudest electric guitar ever played was at The Who's rock concert on May 31, 1976 in London. The electric guitar reached 126 decibels.

Pete Townshend, guitarist for The Who, is now almost completely deaf due to several loud concerts.

Again, it never hurts to wear ear protection when playing or listening to loud music.

3. Gaits

oBagpipesnot only are they loud, but they can be dangerous to both the listener and the player.

In fact, there is a disease called "bagpipe lung", which is when an infection can develop in the performer's lungs if the instrument is not cleaned properly. This is rare and can be treated, but there is another danger to the bagpipe as well.

However, when it comes to volume, these instruments can reach over 120 decibels. One musician even managed to blast his bagpipes at 122 decibels.

That's loud enough to cause immediate damage to your ears and hearing loss over time.

4. Trombon

otromboneIt is another very loud instrument due to the length and width of its bell, which allow this instrument to reach 114 decibels.

It is part of the brass family and creates sound through a combination of the performer's lip humming, mouth position, and slide placement.

Like many wind instruments, when played at its highest volume for long periods of time, the trombone can cause hearing loss.

That's why if you plan to practice your instrument out loud, it's always a good idea to wear a pair of earplugs.

5. Clarinet

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Believe it or not, despite its relatively small size, theClarinetit is one of the highest wind instruments.

The musician makes a sound by blowing into his mouthpiece with a single reed. The vibration of the reed helps create the unique sound of the clarinet. This then channels air through the body to the bell, where the sound is projected.

When played at its loudest, a clarinet can reach up to 85 to 114 decibels, which is dangerous to your hearing range.

6. Oboe

Like the clarinet, theOboeit is another type of wind instrument and it is also very similar. Unlike the clarinet, however, the oboe is a double-reed instrument.

The oboe is the instrument that is normally heard before a concert begins. The oboist will play a sharp A note, which each member of the orchestra will use to check their pitch.

If the oboist uses enough air and technique, he can make his instrument reach between 90-112 decibels.

7. cello

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Next, we have thecello, which is a soft stringed instrument played with a bow in the same way as a violin.

The cello can produce very beautiful tones, but if played very loudly, these instruments can produce very loud music.

If the cellist really gets down to business, this instrument can go as high as 111 decibels. This comes dangerously close to creating a sound that can cause immediate damage to his hearing.

The noise can also be amplified when multiple cellos are playing in unison and you can even get electric cellos that can turn the volume up even higher.

8. Eardrums

The first percussion instrument on our list, theeardrumsdrums (also known askettle drums), are often used to make a statement when played in a piece of music. That's because they can also reach 106 decibels.

Despite being drums, timpani are actually tuned to specific notes, making them a type of tuned percussion instrument.

Its girth and volume allow a player with adequate strength and stamina to produce sounds that can be deafening.

Although eardrums do not cause immediate hearing loss, pieces of music often require playing at a higher volume than most instruments.

This results in many timpanists wearing earplugs while practicing or during a concert to protect their hearing.

9. French horn

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Member of the brass family, thefrench hornraises the decibel levels a few notches.

It's essentially a long series of tubes that the player blows through a mouthpiece, and then the sound is amplified and projected into the enlarged bell at the other end.

At its highest level, the French horn can reach between 90 and 106 decibels, one of the loudest wind instruments in an orchestra.

10. Singer

We've all heard of an opera singer who can break glass on a high note, but how high can aCantorreally go?

Well, most speakers can only reach around 70 decibels. This isn't enough to instantly pop your eardrums, but if someone were to sing that loud for a long period of time, it could cause some hearing problems.

But the loudest singer ever recorded hit an incredible 113.8 dB...

The volume of a singer is influenced by several factors. The bigger the lungs, the more air the singer can take in and the longer they can sustain a note.

In addition, the size of the larynx and the vocal cords influence the maximum volume that a singer can reach.

11. Flute

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While many of the instruments on this list are quite large, size isn't everything when it comes to sound.

oFlute, for example, is about 26 inches long, making it significantly smaller than a timpani or trombone, but it can produce sounds almost as loud.

The reason for this is the high tones that can be achieved when playing the flute. Someone with sufficient lung capacity and control can make the flute reach levels of up to 103 decibels.

This volume is rarely required in a piece of music, but if you're a flutist, it might be a good idea to wear earplugs while practicing or playing loud pieces.

12. Piano

Surprisingly, the soft sounds of aPianoit can become very loud if the player hits the notes hard enough.

To be fair, the type of piano influences the decibel level it can produce.

An upright piano will never be as tall as a grand piano, which can be over 19 feet long. The bigger the piano, the more space it has to amplify the sound.

This means that a piano played in fortissimo can start at 84 decibels and go as high as 103 decibels.

Again, this won't cause immediate hearing loss, but if played in a confined space for an extended period of time, a tall piano can definitely do some real damage to your ears.

13. Violin

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The younger cousin of the cello, aviolin, is another stringed instrument that is usually played with a bow.

But unlike the cello, which plays notes in a lower key, the violin can play much higher notes. This is where the loudest sounds the violin can make are created.

At its loudest, the violin can reach levels between 82 and 92 decibels.

This will not cause immediate hearing damage, but prolonged exposure to such loud sounds may have negative consequences in the future.

Summing up our list of the loudest musical instruments

Regardless of the type of instrument you play, it's never a bad idea to invest in earplugs.

It's worth it in the long run, because if you're hard of hearing, you may not be able to enjoy the music you love in the future.

This is especially true if you play one of the instruments on this list!

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