19 June 2006

Champion of hearing

Exciting matches, animated discussions, deafening goal celebrations. The World Cup is more than just a test for Ballack, Ronaldinho and other scoring predators. It is a test for the fans, as well. If you join the throngs of spectators flocking to the games in Germany, you must bring along all your fan paraphernalia. But equally importantly, you must take care of your hearing. Use earplugs for your own good.

The noise in a football stadium can be a serious threat to your hearing. Burkhard Mathiak, a spokesman for the German Schalke 04 Bundesliga team had the noise levels recorded during a game.

”The intensity and noise levels following a goal compares to the noise from a jetliner on take-off,” said Mathiak.

The audience roar following a goal in a football stadium is also comparable to the noise levels of a nightclub, 110 dB. The blaring of horns reach levels as high as 130 dB. These horns may be illegal, but they are still brought into the stands by football fans, and they constitute an imminent danger to the hearing of the people around them. The same is true for other noise making devices, such as whistles, smoke bombs and megaphones. They can cause instant permanent hearing damage.

Regulations missing

Unlike heavy industry, sports events are not subject to noise regulations. When we leave the workplace we often expose ourselves to extremely high levels of noise without giving it proper thought, and some even find the extreme noise levels exhilarating.

„Depending on the emotions we associate with the noise we hear, we find the noise pleasurable or stressful. An excited spectator in a football stadium may not experience even the most extreme and dangerous noise level as unpleasant or painful,” stated Hans-Heinrich Grübmeyer, an ear, nose and throat specialist from Neustadt, Germany.

But this should leave no one with the mistaken impression that the noise is harmless. Dr Grübmeyer issued this recommendation to all World Cup fans:
”Use earplugs when you are in the stadium.”

Even while wtaching the games at home you should take a few simple important precautionary steps:

  • Keep your television volume at a moderate level and see if you can comfortably hear and understand the transmision.
  • Improve the acoustics in the room. Carpeting, curtains and plants tend to reduce the noise level and interfering noise.
  • Eliminate or avoid other sources of noise, whether from the street or household appliances.
  • And let your ears rest regularly, so your hearing will be fully fit when the World Cup final is played on the 9th of July.

Sources: www.schalke04.de; www.gesundheitpro.de; www.forumbesserhoeren.de, 8 June, 2006

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