Whether you’re attending a sporting event indoors or outdoors, it’s important to carry your hearing protection in case the crowds or cars get too noisy. While you can’t always walk away from the event or the cheering fans, you can use hearing protection in any place that’s too noisy.
To some people, loud noise in a sports stadium, race track, or monster truck rally is just part of the fun. But if you enjoy noisy spectator sports, don’t forget your hearing protection. Even outdoor sports events, such as car races, can be very noisy. Scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Institute on Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have measured sound at the race car track at up to 140 decibels (dB) in the pits, with levels at 96dB in the stands and 114dB for drivers! Other sporting events can also be noisy. In 2012, Super Bowl noise crept up to 107dB, as measured in the stadium by fans using free smartphone apps at NIOSH’s request.
Remember, regular exposure to sounds over 85 dB puts you at risk for permanent hearing loss. Scientists recommend no more than 15 minutes of unprotected exposure to sounds that are 100 dB or louder, and no more than 1 minute of unprotected exposure to sounds at 110 dB or more. If you attend any sports event, whether inside or outside, consider how loud it’s going to be and pack your hearing protection.