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Local pressure deviation from the ambient atmospheric pressure, caused by a sound wave
It follows that the particle velocity and the sound pressure along the direction of propagation of the sound wave x are given by
vm is the amplitude of the particle velocity,
is the phase shift of the particle velocity,
pm is the amplitude of the acoustic pressure,
is the phase shift of the acoustic pressure.
Taking the Laplace transforms of v and p with respect to time yields
Since , the amplitude of the specific acoustic impedance is given by
Consequently, the amplitude of the particle displacement is related to that of the acoustic velocity and the sound pressure by
When measuring the sound pressure created by a sound source, it is important to measure the distance from the object as well, since the sound pressure of a spherical sound wave decreases as 1/r from the centre of the sphere (and not as 1/r2, like the sound intensity):
This relationship is an inverse-proportional law.
If the sound pressure p1 is measured at a distance r1 from the centre of the sphere, the sound pressure p2 at another position r2 can be calculated:
The inverse-proportional law for sound pressure comes from the inverse-square law for sound intensity:
The sound pressure may vary in direction from the centre of the sphere as well, so measurements at different angles may be necessary, depending on the situation. An obvious example of a sound source whose spherical sound wave varies in level in different directions is a bullhorn.
Sound pressure level
Sound pressure level (SPL) or acoustic pressure level is a logarithmic measure of the effective pressure of a sound relative to a reference value.
Sound pressure level, denoted Lp and measured in dB, is defined by
The commonly used reference sound pressure in air is
p0 = 20 ?Pa,
which is often considered as the threshold of human hearing (roughly the sound of a mosquito flying 3 m away). The proper notations for sound pressure level using this reference are or , but the suffix notations , , dBSPL, or dBSPL are very common, even if they are not accepted by the SI.
Most sound-level measurements will be made relative to this reference, meaning will equal an SPL of . In other media, such as underwater, a reference level of is used. These references are defined in ANSIS1.1-2013.
The main instrument for measuring sound levels in the environment is the sound level meter. Most sound level meters provide readings in A, C, and Z-weighted decibels and must meet international standards such as IEC 61672-2013.
The lower limit of audibility is defined as SPL of , but the upper limit is not as clearly defined. While ( or ) is the largest pressure variation an undistorted sound wave can have in Earth's atmosphere, larger sound waves can be present in other atmospheres or other media such as under water or through the Earth.
Ears detect changes in sound pressure. Human hearing does not have a flat spectral sensitivity (frequency response) relative to frequency versus amplitude. Humans do not perceive low- and high-frequency sounds as well as they perceive sounds between 3,000 and 4,000 Hz, as shown in the equal-loudness contour. Because the frequency response of human hearing changes with amplitude, three weightings have been established for measuring sound pressure: A, B and C. A-weighting applies to sound pressures levels up to , B-weighting applies to sound pressures levels between and , and C-weighting is for measuring sound pressure levels above .
In order to distinguish the different sound measures, a suffix is used: A-weighted sound pressure level is written either as dBA or LA. B-weighted sound pressure level is written either as dBB or LB, and C-weighted sound pressure level is written either as dBC or LC. Unweighted sound pressure level is called "linear sound pressure level" and is often written as dBL or just L. Some sound measuring instruments use the letter "Z" as an indication of linear SPL.
The distance of the measuring microphone from a sound source is often omitted when SPL measurements are quoted, making the data useless, due to the inherent effect of the inverse square law, which summarily states that doubling the distance between the source and receiver results in dividing the measurable effect by four. In the case of ambient environmental measurements of "background" noise, distance need not be quoted, as no single source is present, but when measuring the noise level of a specific piece of equipment, the distance should always be stated. A distance of one metre (1 m) from the source is a frequently used standard distance. Because of the effects of reflected noise within a closed room, the use of an anechoic chamber allows sound to be comparable to measurements made in a free field environment.
According to the inverse proportional law, when sound level Lp1 is measured at a distance r1, the sound level Lp2 at the distance r2 is
The formula for the sum of the sound pressure levels of n incoherent radiating sources is
Inserting the formulas
in the formula for the sum of the sound pressure levels yields
^All values listed are the effective sound pressure unless otherwise stated.
The relation between pressure waves and the production of X-rays in air discharges
Pressure and shock waves released by electric discharges are capable of perturbing the air in their vicinity up to 80%. This, however, has immediate consequences on the motion and properties of secondary streamer discharges in perturbed air: Depending on the direction (relative to the ambient electric field), air perturbations change the discharge velocities, facilitate branching or trigger the spontaneous initiation of a counter discharge.  Recent simulations have shown that such perturbations are even capable to facilitate the production of X-rays (with energies of several tens of keV) from such streamer discharges, which are produced by run-away electrons through the Bremsstrahlung process. 
^Bies, David A., and Hansen, Colin. (2003). Engineering Noise Control.
^Ross Roeser, Michael Valente, Audiology: Diagnosis (Thieme 2007), p. 240.
^Thompson, A. and Taylor, B. N. Sec. 8.7: "Logarithmic quantities and units: level, neper, bel", Guide for the Use of the International System of Units (SI) 2008 Edition, NIST Special Publication 811, 2nd printing (November 2008), SP811 PDF.
^Morfey, Christopher L. (2001). Dictionary of Acoustics. San Diego: Academic Press. ISBN978-0125069403.
^Marode, E.; Bastien, F.; Bakker, M. (1979). "A model of the streamer included spark formation based on neutral dynamics". J. Appl. Phys. 50: 140-146. doi:10.1063/1.325697.
^Kacem, S.; et al. (2013). "Simulation of expansion of thermal shock and pressure waves induced by a streamer dynamics in positive DC corona discharges". IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science. 41 (4): 942-947. doi:10.1109/tps.2013.2249118. S2CID25145347.