• Dr. Andrea Markway

Are Your Ears Super Bowl Ready?

Houston is gearing up for Super Bowl 51. The city is preparing volunteers. Businesses are stocking up on fan gear. Houstonians are planning for their viewing parties. Your Super Bowl prep list may include tailgating supplies, chili ingredients and foam fingers, but did you ever think to add hearing protection to your must-have list?


How loud is a typical Super Bowl game?

Audiologists with Oticon have previously measured games around and above 90 dBA. This level is loud enough to cause harm if exposed over 2 hours. 


What is the loudest recorded game?

Historically, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Seattle Seahawks have battled it out for the Guinness record of "Loudest Stadium." The Seattle Seahawks previously held the world record at 136.6 dBA in 2013. Their fans, who are referred to as "Volume 12 - The Seahawks 12th Man," cheered so loud, it registered as minor earthquake!

However, Kansas City Chief fans quickly surpassed that record, first topping it with 137.5 dBA but then exceeded that record to hit 142.2 dBA! 

That's similar to fireworks, gunshots or even a jet plane! 


So, how does NRG Stadium compare? We do not know. There are no available records of any loudness/decibel recordings completed at NRG stadium listed. Sound Level Meter apps can be added to a smart phone to obtain an estimate. However, the expert acousticians at the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) would have the most accurate measurement. 

What can I do to protect my ears?

If you are an avid sports enthusiast that also enjoys loud concerts and hunting, custom noise plugs will be your best option. They come in a variety of styles including active hunter's noise plugs that can increase soft sounds. Many people enjoy musician's plugs that also allow speech and music to sound natural while still protecting hearing. 


Getting custom earplugs are a simple process. An Audiologist will look into your ears to make sure that they are healthy and do not have excessive wax build-up. Then, a protective piece is placed to protect your ear drum. Then, a silly-putty-like solution is placed into your ear. This makes a mold of the shape of your ear so that the earplugs will fit correctly. 


If you are interested in making custom earplugs, simply give the professionals a call at The Hearing Health Center of Houston to schedule your appointment to review which custom earplug is best for you. 

713-942-8205


What are other ways to protect my ears?

Over the ear hearing protection

Foam earplugs from any drug store (note - read instructions for proper insertion)

Getting up and leaving the noisy area from time to time


Take home Message:

  • Can professional sporting events be loud enough to harm your hearing? Yes!

  • If you are listening to loud sounds for longer periods of time, does it harm your hearing more? Yes! 

  • What to do? Protect your hearing with hearing protection and remember to take breaks in quieter areas!

For more information: 

http://www.hearingreview.com/2014/01/super-bowl-hearing-facts-amaze-your-friends/

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/02/01/268370350/extremely-loud-and-incredibly-close-fans-risk-hearing-loss

http://dangerousdecibels.org/


The Hearing Health Center of Houston

3275 West Alabama St.

Houston, TX 77098

713-942-8205

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