Damage to hearing: Brazilian hearing professionals on the ball


© Abdulaziz Al-Mansour - Sxc.hu

As we all know, when a sports match gets exciting, you can really hear it. And soccer is no exception, especially in one of the world’s greatest football nations, Brazil, and during the sport’s top event, the World Cup.

Sound levels in stadiums, and importantly in places where fans get together, gave the media particularly on the net a chance to remind people about the risks associated with exposure to high intensity sound. Although FIFA Cup management banned the South African vuvuzela and limited the use of trumpets, whistles and other foghorns inside stadiums, sale of all these items was not restricted by the local authorities.

In partnership with the Brazilian Society for Otology, the website proteste.org.br measured sound from more than 30 products and concluded that most should be considered “foul play” because they produced sound higher than 110 dB, a level comparable to that of a car horn, a lawn mower, or levels recorded at a rock concert. Camila Quintino, product manager at Starkey do Brasil, told the website VilaMulher.com.br that noise recorded in a stadium can easily exceed 115 dB and that 7 minutes of exposure at this level can be enough to damage hearing irreversibly.

But it is possible to prevent this kind of damage by using hearing protectors, says Marcella Vidal, audiologist at Telex Soluções Auditivas, the Brazilian affiliate of Oticon. “Noise reducing headphones, as their name implies, reduce the level of noise but still let you hear ambient sound. This means that fans can join the fun without any risk to their hearing,” she told the website vejafolha.com.br.

Leaving hearing protection devices in the locker room and bearing the full force of high level noise can lead to the development of ringing in the ears (tinnitus). If this ringing is still there the next day, this may mean that hearing has been damaged and a visit to an ENT specialist without delay is needed, says Dr Tanit Ganz Sanchez on her blog .

Important advice and words of warning to avoid fans’ ears giving a red card to the world’s number one football contest...