September means football season and who doesn’t love that time of year? Tailgating, foam fingers, late nights cheering on your favorite team, and hot dogs… you can’t forget about the stadium hot dogs. With all of this excitement, it’s easy to get caught up in all of the noise. Whether you’re attending your child’s high school game or the championship for your college team, it can get noisy and your hearing can be affected.
Stadiums are known for being loud environments, but the impact they have on your hearing is foreign to many. There’s music from the band, noise from the loud speakers, announcers, and thousands of cheering fans all in one enclosed area…talk about a lot of noise.
Noise is measured in units known as decibels (dB). Subtle sounds are likely to hit 40 dB, while noise in stadiums far exceeds that. Exposure to noise measuring 85 dB or higher is likely to negatively affect your hearing within 15 minutes.
Fans often take pride in competing for the loudest group during the games. A typical NFL game ranges between 80 and 90 dB. In 2014, Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs, reached 142.2 dB, breaking the world record for stadium noise. The previous record holder was CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks, with a decibel level of 137.6. To put this into perspective, a military jet aircraft reaches 130 dB during take-off. Yikes!
Here are a few stadiums known for being extremely loud:
- AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys
- Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots
- Hein Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers
- Invesco Field, home of the Denver Broncos
- The Mercedes-Benz Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints (who dat!)
The most common hearing condition that occurs after exposure to loud noise is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). NIHL is caused by damage to the hair cells in the inner ear. Once these hair cells are impaired, the body struggles to repair them, resulting in permanent damage to your hearing. NIHL often occurs over time. Another common condition is Tinnitus. Tinnitus is the ringing, buzzing or clicking sound you may hear after being in a noisy room. This typically subsides within a few minutes, but may be consistent. Because there is no known cure for hearing loss, hearing aids are the most effective form of relief.
So…how can you protect your ears during football season?
Although hearing aids are available in all shapes and sizes, the best practice is to take preventative measures, especially while attending a football game…hello ear muffs! If ear muffs aren’t your idea of fashion, visit our Audiologists to get your own custom-made earplugs. To further protect your ears, consider choosing a seat away from major noise sources, such as the band or loudspeakers.
If you are experiencing any hearing problems, schedule an appointment with our audiologists! They will be able to test your hearing, provide suggestions and find the best hearing device for you.
Contact Hearing Services at Emerge at 225-343-4232 ext. 6902.