Acoustic Terms and Definitions: Attenuation

Attenuation or extinction is a measure of the energy loss of sound propagation in media. Acoustic attenuation in a lossy medium plays an important role in many engineering fields, such as vibration and noise reduction.

In physics, attenuation or, in some contexts, extinction is the gradual loss of flux intensity through a medium. For instance, dark glasses attenuate sunlight, lead attenuates X-rays, and water and air attenuate both light and sound at variable attenuation rates.

Hearing protectors help reduce acoustic flux from flowing into the ears. This phenomenon is called acoustic attenuation and is measured in decibels (dBs).

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