Now that it’s becoming safer to hang out in crowds, many are flooding back to sporting events. But doing so without protection could be perilous to your hearing. Below we review how loud sounds cause damage, how loud sporting events are and how you can protect your hearing at Cosumnes River College Stadium.
How Do Loud Sounds Cause Damage?
Within the inner ear is the cochlea, which is lined with tiny hair cells. Called stereocilia, these cells are responsible for converting sound waves into electrical energy that travels to the brain via the auditory nerve to be interpreted.
When dangerously loud sounds pass through the ears, it can damage or destroy the stereocilia. The result is permanent sensorineural hearing loss. Any sound over 85 dB can cause this type of damage. For reference, below are some common sounds and their decibel outputs:
- Normal breathing: 10 dB
- Rustling leaves: 20 dB
- Whispering: 30 dB
- Refrigerator humming: 40 dB
- Normal conversation: 50 dB
- Laughter: 60 dB
- Vacuum cleaner: 70 dB
- City traffic: 80 dB
- Lawnmower: 90 dB
- Garbage truck: 100 dB
- Jackhammer: 110 dB
- Thunder: 120 dB
- Shotgun firing: 130 dB
- Fireworks: 140 dB
The louder a sound is, the faster it can cause damage.
How Loud Are Sporting Events?
According to a study from 2019, noise levels at baseball stadiums are loud enough to cause hearing damage and/or tinnitus. Most survey respondents reported they did not consider wearing earplugs, and a third experienced hearing muffled speech after the game.
Of course, baseball is not the only loud sport. In September 2013, the Seattle Seahawks set the record for the loudest stadium at 136.6 dB. The very next month, the Kansas City Chiefs topped this record with a whopping 137.5 dB. This can cause damage in as little as a minute.
How You Can Protect Your Hearing
Next time you attend a sporting event, be sure you:
- Wear hearing protection. The best thing you can do for your hearing is wear hearing protection in the form of earplugs or earmuffs. These can be purchased inexpensively at the drug store or custom-ordered at Elk Grove Hearing Care.
- Try noise-cancelling headphones. An alternative form of hearing protection is noise-cancelling headphones.
- Take listening breaks. While it can be hard to find a quiet area of a sports stadium, spending a few minutes near the concessions or in the bathrooms can help give your ears a break.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Elk Grove Hearing Care today.