Acoustic Glossary


Leq, LAeq, Equivalent Continuous Sound Level

Leq : equivalent continuous sound level is the sound level in decibels, having the same total sound energy as the fluctuating level measured.
Leq is also known as the time-average sound level (LAT).

LAeq is the A-weighted Leq sound level.

LAeq,T is the A-weighted Leq, measured over a specified period of time (T)

Leq Definition under equivalent continuous sound level

Most community and industrial noise measurements are A-weighted so the LAeq descriptor is widely used.

Early sound level meters had a very limited dynamic range, so if the sound levels fluctuated by more then 20 dB during a measurement, the accuracy was in doubt. They also used exponential averaging (Fast, Slow etc.) circuits which helped the operator average the meter fluctuations by eye, but introduced other accuracy limitations.

Modern integrating sound level meters monitor a wide range of fluctuating levels faithfully and the digital linear averaging circuits record and display the Leq average energy time histories and the L10, L90, Ln etc., statistical noise levels, over minutes, hours or days as required. The meter accuracy is classified in accordance with National and International Standards.

Leq is widely used, but not widely understood - click here for a more detailed explanation.

Leq is normally based on an exchange rate of 3 dB. An 8-hour Leq is also known as LEP,d = LEX,8h.

Leq is the 'common' name for the equivalent continuous sound level, see the IEC definition below

see also • LAeq(6h)LAeq(6h)LAeq(8h)LAeq(16h)LAeq(18h)

Equivalent Continuous Sound Level (Leq) is the average sound level. which over a given period of time has the same total energy as the fluctuating noise.

Equivalent Continuous Sound Level Definition (IEC 801-22-16) logarithm of the ratio of a given time-mean-square, standard frequency-weighted, sound pressure for a stated time period, to the square of the reference sound pressure of 20 μPa. Equivalent continuous sound level in decibels is ten times the logarithm to the base ten of that ratio. Also known as the time-average sound level
Note 1 : if a frequency-weighting is not specified, the A-frequency weighting is understood.
Note 2 : in principle, exponential time weighting is not involved.

Equivalent Continuous Sound Level (IEC 801-22-16) should not to be confused with the Equivalent Continuous Sound Pressure Level (IEC 801-22-11).

See also our sound level calculations article

Short Leq is the preferred modern method of storing sound levels and displaying the true time history of noise events and all other sound levels during any specified period of time. The resulting 'time histories', typically measured in 1/8 second intervals may then be used to calculate the 'overall' levels for any sub-period of the overall measurement time.

See also integrating sound level meters
Leq : equivalent continuous sound level a more detailed explanation
SEL : sound exposure level, the Leq normalized to 1 second, equivalent to the total sound energy.

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