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Posted on Thursday, November 06, 2014

Is Your Favorite Sporting Event Too Loud?

Handsome couple enjoys game at WVU!

Noise induced hearing loss isn't only something that hard-rocking concert attendees need to worry about. It's also something that your average sports fan should take into consideration.

Are you ready for some football!? How about some basketball? If so, remember the earplugs. At least that's a conclusions of a recent study on stadium noise. According to a study published in the American Journal of Audiology which measured sounds at sporting events, "Dosimeter measurements showed that noise at 6 of the 10 basketball games exceeded acceptable intensity levels." That's right, you people need to settle down out there. Or at least, take protective measures to ensure your hearing isn't damaged. The truth is that decibel levels at a sporting event can go from a penetrating 105 to a damaging 130. That's loud enough for a fan to feel physical pain. And in a recent, some might say foolish, Guinness World Record fans at a Seattle Seahawks game reached 131.9 decibel level! The audiologist in town were cringing. So how exactly does this fan noise damage your hearing?

Inside the ear are small, delicate hairs that help conduct the noise that constitutes your hearing. Injury to these hair cells comes from exposure, sudden or prolonged to loud noises. Shouting is generally considered a loud noise. A stadium full of shouting people...well, you get the picture. This type of damage to hearing is called noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) and it is the most common type of hearing loss.

Although many fans willingly brave the damage inducing noise at their favorite sports arena in a misguided belief that their ear-busting levels are rallying their team to victory, that's not really the case. Not only is it difficult for both teams to hear and call plays with excessive noise, but as the article Why Being the World's Loudest Stadium is A Bad Idea by Melissa Dahl and Linda Carrol points out, "Decades of research have looked at the effect of a noisy crowd on athletic performance and there's never been any conclusive, scientific evidence that a boisterous crowd does indeed help the home team win."

And it's not just the fans. In an attempt to raise the roof at sporting events, stadium managers are going all out. According to an article by Alan Schwarz in the New York Times stadiums are turning up the volume all on their own. In fact in the article, Stoking Excitement, Arenas Turn Up the Volume, Schwarz notes that in the Mavericks' stadium, "Sixty mammoth speakers hanging above the court thunder music and clamorous sound effects louder than a jumbo jet engine."

Though most people wouldn't get anywhere near a jumbo jet engine without earplugs, they casually enter stadiums just as loud. That's something that needs to change. The American Journal of Audiology study concluded that venues where sports take place, may want to provide a warning to its patrons and even make earplugs available. If you or a loved one regularly attend sporting events, considering investing in personal hearing protection. Most audiologist and hearing care professionals have the necessary equipment to make custom fit earplugs. So your ears will be comfy and safe.

Good hearing health is the best way to keep your ears functioning at their top, most youthful. To find out more about how you can keep your ears healthy read THIS article or visit your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

Still not convinced? Below is a video that explains just how loud sounds destroy your hearing.

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