Stadiums are so loud these days that they can cause permanent ear damage.

Ear Damage

CLEVELAND CLINIC – For sports fans, there is no time of year that is more exciting than playoff time. For the unwitting, that time can cause also cause permanent ear damage.

And the only thing better than cheering on the home team is to cheer them on in person, at the game.

But can all of those ‘fan-o-meters’ that measure the excitement and noise level in the arena really tell fans how loud it’s getting?

Sharon Sandridge, PhD, of Cleveland Clinic said there are ways to measure the real noise level during the game.

“I always recommend that with smartphones you can download all kinds of sound level meter apps, for free, for a couple bucks, just get one and then you can test an environment to see if you are safe or not,” said Dr. Sandridge.

Dr. Sandridge said it’s important to be aware of the noise level, even if it’s noise that’s all in good fun.

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Research has shown that it only takes one instance of loud noise exposure to damage the cells within our ears for good.

noise-levels-1The risk for permanent damage begins at a level of 85 dBA for eight hours or more. Eighty-five dBA is about the equivalent of the noise produced by a vacuum cleaner or a food blender.

Noise exposure can cause varying symptoms. The most common is a ringing sound in the ears, called tinnitus, which can occur shortly after loud noise exposure.¬†Occupational noise is very well regulated, however recreational noise is not, which is why Dr. Sandridge said that it’s important for fans to be aware of the noise that surrounds them.

Don’t Risk Permanent Ear Damage

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She recommends getting up and taking a break from the noise every now and then, with a walk to the main concourse where it’s possible to be tuned into the action, but maybe not as much noise.

Dr. Sandridge said wearing foamy earplugs is another good option, as they can reduce noise to a safe level without turning it down too much.

“We just have to be more aware of the noise around us,” said Dr. Sandridge. “It’s around us all the time and we get very used to it. The reality is, every single second we’re exposed to noise, can indeed do damage.”