The decibel sound level scale is an arbitrary scale that ranges from 0 dB (threshold of hearing) to 130 dB (threshold of pain). The chart below shows where some common sounds fall on this dB scale. Audible alarms are available that have sound levels as soft as 55 dB at 2 feet and as loud as 110 dB at 2 feet.
Fundamental Frequency & Harmonics
Below is a frequency scan of a piezoelectric audible alarm that has a resonant frequency of 2,800 Hz. As you can see, there is a strong frequency peak at 2.8 kHz and several smaller frequency peaks that follow called harmonic frequencies. The table below the chart shows that the size of the harmonic frequencies are significantly smaller than the fundamental frequency for this particular alarm unit. Because this alarm has a large fundamental frequency and much smaller harmonic frequencies, the sound quality of this part will be very good. When this alarm is activated, the listener will hear one clear frequency (also called sound pitch) from the alarm. Other electronic alarm technologies such as electro-magnetic or electro-mechanical type alarms often have much larger harmonic frequency components resulting in less clear tone.