June 10, 2010:
Watch out for your hearing in the World Cup
As a football fan you would love to support your national team in the World Cup 2010 in South Africa, if you are planning to do so, remember to take not just your enthusiasm, but also a pair of earplugs to the stadium.
The plastic trumpets, known as vuvuzelas, used by the South African football fans to liven up a football match up in the stadium reach dangerous levels in terms of noise, shows a recent study.
Researchers examined the hearing of 11 football fans exposed to the noise of these trumpets after a football match in a 30.000-seater full capacity stadium (the main stadium in Johannesburg is seats about 90.000 at full capacity). All of them suffered from a temporary significant hearing loss.
The study, carried out by Professor De Wet Swanepoel from Pretoria University in South Africa and Professor James Hall from Florida Univesity in the US, shows that these kinds of trumpet may cause hearing loss, and it is likely that if the time of exposure is too long, the temporary hearing loss may become permanent.
“If you are exposed to these levels that we measured for 10, 15, 20 minutes continuously, you are exposing yourself to a definite risk in noise-induced hearing loss,” said Swanepoel to Reuters.
The noise from songs, trumpets, and other noisy devices during a football match is part of the whole entertainment, but with the study the researchers aim to ensure that the audience is aware of the possible danger to their hearing and act accordingly by bringing earplugs with them.