You are basically saying the difference in decibel levels between pistol rounds is negligible, but the .357 round can be as loud as many long arms?
Nope, I'm not saying it's negligible. I'm saying that the "quietest" causes real and permanent damage so there's no point in trying to pick one. Would you like real and permanent damage or real and permanent damage? Like, you order a pizza and you go to pick it up and they say "Sorry sir, we made you two. The first one we burnt to a crisp and the second we burnt so bad it looks like a hockey puck... which would you like?"
Now, if you're really and truly convinced that "Cartridge A" is equally as effective as "Cartridge B" but A is slightly "quieter", by all means, go with A.
Yes, you're right that the higher on the scale, the more damage it could theoretically do but you're still talking "severe and permanent" versus "severe and permanent".
You don't want to end up dead, with SLIGHTLY less damage to your ears because you picked a less effective cartridge that was SLIGHTLY quieter.
That's my point. Use the cartridge that you're convinced is MOST EFFECTIVE. If it also happens to be quieter, super, but don't make "quieter" a determining factor.
Still happily answering to the call-sign Peetza.
You do not HAVE a soul. You ARE a soul. You HAVE a body.
He is no fool who gives what he can not keep to gain what he can not lose.
-Jim Eliott, paraphrasing Philip Henry.