In a New York Times article that was published Nov 16th, Joyce Cohen discusses the implications of the record-breaking noise levels that take place in stadiums. Fan groups such as Volume 12 and Terrorhead Returns compete to score the highest decibel noise levels to snag the record of World’s Loudest Stadium. The highest was reached at a recent Kansas City Game, a level of 137.5, a level that can easily cause lasting hearing damage.
Everyone likes team spirit, and it’s exciting to vocally support your team, loudly if compelled to do so, but it’s important to be aware of the effects this can have on your hearing. Cohen points out, “Fans accustomed to hollering may scoff at the warnings as nanny-state silliness. But to auditory experts, the danger is very real.” Even if the immediate effects such as ringing and buzzing go away, there is an irreversible damage that occurs. The overwhelming sound levels are compared to jackhammers nearby, and the consequences of this exposure can range anywhere from ringing and temporary deafness to serious damage.
In another recent article, “The East Village: To Escape the Sirens,” Cohen discusses the effects of noise in a different scenario, the home. She talks to a tenant living in a noisy neighborhood in New York, and how the intensity of such noises as sirens was driving the poor man to madness.
“It is all relative,” he said. “You wind up with these crazy equations, this crazy emotional calculator. Is it worth $3,000 a year not to have to get up 25 minutes earlier every day?”
You might live in a quiet neighborhood. But do you go to sports games? Concerts? Loud restaurants? We are assaulted with noise wherever we go; it’s inescapable in the modern world. Ear plugs only cost a few dollars and can last years, if treated correctly. Is it worth the low cost of ear plugs to not suffer from hearing loss or hearing damage?
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We take a look at the importance of wearing hearing protection at gigs, and as a musician, and explain why earplugs could be the best gift you could give a loved one this Christmas.