by Brad Perdue ***
I’m jealous of the fans that were at CenturyLink field when the Seahawks beat the Saints. On Dec. 2 at CenturyLink field, the Seattle Seahawks reclaimed the Guinness World Record for recorded crowd noise at an outdoor stadium at 137.6 decibels (dB). Does that sound loud to you? It may not unless you have something to compare that level of decibels to.
Well, ‘listen’ to this: According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), “extremely loud” everyday sounds range from a 90 dB passing motorcycle to a 110 dB chain saw; and “painful” everyday sounds range from a 120 dB jet plane takeoff to a 150 dB firework at 3 feet. OK, now 137.6 sounds pretty loud.
While the maximum dB level at CenturyLink field was 137.6, it seems possible that the fans were making noise that would consistently be in the 90 to 110 dB level. Ouch!
I asked Brianne Scappini, an audiologist in the Virginia Mason Listen for Life Center, if exposure to 90 to 110 dB level noise lasting two hours or more could affect hearing. “Yes, with extended exposure, noises that reach a decibel level of 90 dB can cause permanent damage to the hair cells in the inner ear, leading to hearing loss,” says Brianne. Noise-induced hearing loss is the second most common form of sensorineural hearing deficit, after presbycusis (age-related hearing loss) and may be 100 percent preventable.
Be Safe Around Loud Things – Especially Record-Breaking Noises from Stadiums
I think it’s great to have a favorite sports team and to cheer them on, but it’s also important to protect your hearing. Here are some helpful tips to use the next time you’re cheering like The 12th Man or doing something else that could damage your hearing:
- Wear protective ear plugs and/or earmuffs to protect against damage from loud places or equipment.
- Be aware of risks connected with recreation such as shooting a gun, driving snowmobiles or other similar activities.
- Do not listen to loud music for long periods of time. As a general rule of thumb if you have to raise your voice to be heard over the music, it is too loud.
- If you notice that you have difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments, if you hear ringing in your ears, if you need to turn the television up, or frequently need to ask for repetition – it would be wise to get your hearing screened.
As of today, there are two Seahawks home games left (feel free to hook me up with any extra tickets) which means two more chances this season to beat the record of 137.6 dB. Good luck protecting your ears and good luck to the Seahawks!
Brad Perdue is a web producer for eHealth at Virginia Mason.