We are in the midst of an incredible NFL postseason, with tight games and exciting finishes. Following a big Kansas City Chiefs win last weekend against the Buffalo Bills, I’m headed to the AFC Championship this weekend at Arrowhead to watch the Chiefs take on the Cincinnati Bengals.
It is sure to be a wild game and Arrowhead is known to rock. In fact, Arrowhead and Kansas City fans hold the record for loudest crowd roar at a sports stadium, ringing in at 142.2 decibels, set back in 2014. As I’m packing my Chiefs gear, hat, gloves, and jersey big enough to fit over a coat, I am also thinking about the importance of protecting my hearing.
NFL stadiums – and really most sports stadiums and arenas – are very loud places and we may not always realize the damage that can be caused by routine noise exposures in a short amount of time. This chart from the CDC illustrates everyday sounds and noises, decibel level of those everyday exposures, and typical response after exposure:
As we’re cheering on our favorite teams, and even in our daily lives, it’s important to understand the potential damage loud noise can cause and steps we can take to prevent that damage. If, like me this weekend, you’ll be taking in the game live and in-person, earplugs or protective earmuffs may be a good option, particularly for children that may be attending the game with you. If you’re watching from home, turning up the TV volume too loudly may distort the sound for you and make listening uncomfortable for others. Alternatives include TV listening devices, headphones, closed captioning, and even hearing aids that stream TV audio directly to your ears.
This weekend I’ll be testing out a couple of apps on my smartphone that measure sound levels around me. Using these apps is another good way to quantify the loudness of sounds instead of relying solely on feeling that a sound may be too loud and could cause damage. Stay tuned for a follow up blog on how these apps work when put to the test at the loudest stadium in the NFL.
And remember, noise-induced hearing loss is the only completely preventable form of hearing loss, so protect your hearing! You can learn more about noise-induced hearing loss and prevention steps here.