Are football stadiums a risk to my hearing health?

World Cup fever has swept across the globe, enthralling us with last-minute goals and hotly contested video-assisted refereeing. If you are among the thousands of fans traveling in support of your national team, remember to take not just your enthusiasm, but also a pair of earplugs to the stadiums. The noise from songs, trumpets, and other noisy devices during a football match is part of the whole entertainment, but also a potential risk to your hearing health.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, being exposed to 85 decibels (the noise level of city traffic as heard from inside a car) for an eight-hour period can cause hearing loss. For every 3 decibels increase in sound level, the recommended time of exposure is cut in half. That means that for a stadium averaging 88 decibels, four hours of exposure can cause permanent hearing loss.

While it may only take one game to cause damage to your ears, people who regularly attend football matches are at an even greater risk because the noise effects on the ears are cumulative. Exposure to stadium noise can cause temporary hearing loss, which can eventually lead to permanent hearing loss, as well as a risk of developing tinnitus and hyperacusis.

Above all, if you think you might be hard of hearing, it is important to act sooner rather than later. Why not take the quick and easy online hearing test from Signia for a first indication whether it might be worth visiting a hearing care professional to find out whether hearing aids could protect you from greater health risks. Because in life as in football, the safest strategy is to build on a strong defence.