11 August 2020

Baseball stadiums are noisy and can harm hearing

The noise level at a baseball stadium is very high, a study finds. But the spectators do not consider protecting their hearing by e.g. wearing earplugs.

A Korean study has measured the noise levels in a baseball stadium and analysed baseball fans’ attitude to the effect of recreational noise exposure on their hearing.  The researchers found that the noise levels in baseball stadiums are high enough to cause hearing loss and tinnitus.

The study measured the sound level at the stadium. 16 measurements produced 91.7 dBA and showed a significantly high noise level in the crowded sections. The noise levels of low frequencies between 50 Hz and 1 kHz were significantly higher than other frequencies except for the outfield section, but the levels abruptly decreased above 1 kHz.

It is generally recommended that noise levels do not exceed 85 dBA for longer periods. Exposure to loud noise can result in a noise-induced hearing loss.

Survey among participants

For the survey sample, the study randomly selected 344 participants who visited the stadium and were baseball fans. The participants completed a questionnaire on their noise exposure during the game and on the potential risk of hearing loss.

Do not wear earplugs

Despite the very high noise levels at the stadium, 70% of the respondents in the study preferred sitting in the noisiest sections where they were closer to the cheerleaders and had a good view. Most respondents reported that they did not consider wearing earplugs. One-third experienced hearing muffled speech after the game. The participants agreed that an information announcement regarding loud noise and hearing protection was needed at the stadium.

The study was made at the Seoul Complex Sports Baseball Stadium in Korea. The stadium is the largest baseball stadium in Korea.

The study “Noise Levels at Baseball Stadiums and the Spectators’ Attitude to Noise” was published in the journal Noise & Health

Sources: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov and the journal Noise & Health


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