World Cup fans warned of Vuvuzela deafness riskCharity warns that horns can be louder than a jet taking off
The all-pervasive Vuvuzela horns have been a major feature of the World Cup in South Africa. And now, following on from complaints by TV viewers and some fans about the noise they make, charity Deafness Research UK is calling for a limit on the sound level that they can emit.
Charity chief Vivienne Michael warns: "No one wants to spoil the fun, but many people attending the matches in South Africa will be unaware of the risks they are taking with their hearing. We believe it is common sense that fans should be made aware of the dangers."
The horns have been found to produce sound levels of around 130 decibels - louder than a jet taking off and close to the pain threshold in the ear. To put this in context 91 db is considered safe for perhaps a few hours, while anything over 120 db can see permanent damage set in after just a few seconds of exposure. But a football match lasts 90 minutes and the horns are within close proximity of the watching fans' ears.
Michael's advice is that people would be to invest in some earplugs. She adds that "They are cheap, freely available and could literally save your hearing. If you have already come away from a game with ringing in your ears, this is a sign of damage. People often ask how they can tell what the noise level is and as a rough guide, if you are at the game and can't carry on a conversation with someone next to you, if you have to shout to make yourself heard - then clearly you are in an environment with noise levels greater than 85 decibels."
With suggestions that the horns could also be a mechanism for the spread of disease such as colds and flu, and that the noise could prevent fans from hearing important announcements, Deafness Research UK suggests that the sound level emitted by the horns could be limited, especially if they become a regular feature of games in the UK next season.
For more information you can visit the Deafness Research UK web site.
This article was published on Fri 18 June 2010
Image © Olga Ekaterincheva - Fotolia.com
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