Or… **How I learned to stop worrying and count the zeros**

The dB decibel scale can often be very intimidating to others, so here’s a quick way to simplify (i.e. no logs or powers) your explanation to two steps. The fundamental point to make is that a Bell is how many zeros. **A decibel is the number of zeros multiplied by 10.**

Let’s convert a ratio to dB. Pick 100. This number has a number 1 followed by two zeros before the decimal point.

**How many zeros?**“2”.**Multiply by 10.**“20”**Say that number**. “20 dB”

Let’s reverse the process and convert dB to a ratio. Pick 40 dB.

**Divide by 10.**“4”**Four zeros before the decimal place is:**“10000… ten thousand”

How about a more complicated case. Convert 25 dB to a ratio.

**Divide by 10.**“2.5”**Two and a half zeros before the decimal place is?**“more than 100 and less than 1000”**Yes, and half a decimal place is about 3.**“So 300?”**You got it.**“25 dB is about 300”

Now, convert 564 to dB.

**How many zeros?**“Almost the number 6 followed by two zeros. So 2”**Yes, but we had a 6 in front of the zeros. 6 is worth about 75% of a decimal place.**“So 2.75?”**Exactly, now multiply by 10.**“27.5”**Say that number.**“27.5 dB”

This approach is much easier to explain than defining dB = 10 log(R) and the inverse operation using pow(10) and gives much better intuition. So, in field work, I tend to just use this approach. This may seem trivial to experts, but any trick to increasing understanding and explain-ability is worth your consideration.