October 13, 2015

Are Football Games Too Loud?

Football: Loud, proud and…noisy!

The beginning of fall signals the start of some very important things: cooler weather, pumpkin beverages and, of course, football season. Whether you are a fan of the NFL or the NCAA, you know how exciting it can be to root for your team in a stadium filled with fans cheering their hearts out. You might have also noticed how LOUD that same situation can be.

It is not unusual for pro and collegiate football stadiums to reach noise levels well over 100 dB, sometimes even into the 120s or 130s (for reference, a power saw produces sound levels of approximately 110 dB). In fact, teams often consider it a point of pride to have the loudest stadium in the league. While this can make for an energizing atmosphere for players and spectators alike, it can also be very dangerous for the hearing of anyone in that environment, especially for an extended period of time. How harmful a sound is can be determined by analyzing two factors: intensity of the sound and duration spent listening.

Check out an earlier JHBI blog post (https://www.betterhearingjax.com/noise-induced-hearing-loss/) to learn the specifics of noise induced hearing loss and review professional guidelines on maximum exposure times allowed in various levels of sound. It’s easy to see how loud football games, which may average 80-90 dB of noise but have frequent peaks into the 100+ dB range, can quickly cause permanent hearing damage. So, what can you do to protect your ears and cheer on your team at the same time?

The easiest solution to prevent noise damage is to wear ear plugs or muffs consistently when in a loud environment. Many hearing healthcare professionals have started initiatives to provide hearing protection to fans at sporting events and as a result, it is becoming more common to see people of all ages and hearing levels protecting their ears. Even the tiniest of fans need to be kept safe from noise exposure!

So the next time you are packing for your tailgate, be sure to include hearing protection for everyone attending the game. To learn more about custom earplugs, check out an earlier blog (https://www.betterhearingjax.com/can-music-cause-hearing-loss/) or speak to your audiologist.


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