The Loudest Crowd: How Football Season Can Affect Your Ears

Super Bowl Sunday is almost upon us, and everyone is getting excited for the big game. Whether you’re rooting for Portland’s neighbors to the north, the Seattle Seahawks, or their opponents from the other coast, the New England Patriots, one thing is for sure: Your favorite team’s downfall isn’t the only loss you need to worry about.

Superbowl 2015 Noise Infographic

Each year, football fans get louder. The year 2013 saw the Seahawks stadium set the record for loudest outdoor sports arena in the world with a 137.6 decibel (dB) roar. Last October, after a lengthy back-and-forth battle, fans in Kansas City officially regained the record at 142.2 dB. This might sound like fun to some fans—but to Portland hearing loss professionals, it sounds like a serious concern.

According to the hearing loss experts at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), any sound over 85 dB is considered dangerous to hearing health. Here’s a look at ASHA’s guide to damaging and dangerous decibel levels:

  • Exposure to sound over 85 dB can cause damage within 8 hours
  • Exposure to sound over 100 dB can cause damage within 15 mins
  • Exposure to sound over 120 dB can cause damage instantly

For reference, a jet engine produces sound at about 120 dB, and a gunshot rings out at 140 dB. This means one thing for football fans: permanent, irreversible hearing loss is a huge risk without proper hearing protection.

So how can you protect your hearing at the next game you attend? The first step is to visit a Portland hearing loss doctor for a hearing evaluation. Understanding your hearing is the best way to establish a baseline for hearing health. During this appointment, you should also discuss how to protect yourself from potential hearing loss at Portland sporting events. Your audiologist may recommend earmuffs, earplugs or custom earmolds depending on your hearing, hobbies and habits.

Don’t let a big win turn into a big loss—let the friendly staff at PDX ENT & Audiology Medical Group throw you the perfect pass for hearing protection in 2015!