Top Tips

The Sounds Of Live Sport

With State of Origin, AFL season, and the World Cup all underway, it’s a crucial time to pay attention to the health of your hearing while enjoying sport. Whether you’re on the field, in the stands, or at the pub, some sounds can be deafening with long-term exposure.

Any sound over 85 decibels can damage your hearing, and we’ve identified a number of objects that exceed that number. For babies, noise tolerance is even lower, so if you’re attending a match with a child, it’s important to take proper precautions.

The most damaging sport sound is in the hands of the referee – that tiny, self-blown whistle can exceed 130 dB. Pair that with the fact it’s blown dozens of times throughout a match, and you’ve got a health concern on your hands – literally!

In-game entertainment also presents an issue for unknowing audiences. Most stadiums play excessively loud music during breaks and timeouts, and live music tends to make an appearance during some bigger match-ups. For instance, a live drum beats at about 115 dB  per unit. When you put numerous in a line, it creates quite a bang!

Cheering fans are also to blame for excessive decibels. While it’s fantastic to show support for your team, one fans’ scream can exceed 80 dB. When you have thousands seated in a tight space, that number jumps to upwards of 105 dB!

Watching games at a pub or at home can also harm hearing, with TV volumes increasing to create an in-game atmosphere. Viewers are forced to shout over the commentators, which creates a worryingly-loud entertainment environment. For the World Cup specifically, the classic vuvuzela horns can be as loud as a chainsaw – chiming in at 125 dB. When played in unison, they create that infamous bee-swarming sound that is more detrimental than you’d expect. Other spectator devices such as air horns ring in at 120 dB.

Needless to say, organised sport is a generally healthy, community-focused institution that promotes a number of important things such as physical fitness, team-mindedness, leadership, and self confidence. It fosters an exciting environment for fans to channel their competitive spirit. However, hearing health is not often considered in sport conversation, so it’s up to all of us to keep ears top of mind.

If you’re having trouble with your hearing or think you may need more answers, talk to a specialist about booking a hearing test today.


If you are concerned about hearing loss, book an appointment today.


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