Then in 2005 the Discovery Channel television show MythBusters tackled the question, recruiting rock singer and vocal coach Jamie Vendera to hit some crystal ware with his best shot. He tried 12 wine glasses before stumbling on the lucky one that splintered at the blast of his mighty pipes. For the first time, proof that an unassisted voice can indeed shatter glass was captured on video.
Vendera's glass-breaking wail registered at 105 decibels—almost as loud as a jackhammer. Not many people can muster the lung power for that kind of noise. Opera singers train for years to build up the strength to produce sustained notes at volumes above 100 decibels. (By comparison, typical speech is around 50 decibels.) Although I was trained as an opera singer before becoming a science journalist, I have never personally witnessed the phenomenon or been able to recreate it myself. That's not to say I won't try again—but perhaps I should procure a horned helmet, gilded breastplate and, most importantly, good amplifying speakers first.