How Can I Protect My Hearing at Sporting Events? Posted on May 20, 2022 by Advanced ENT & Allergy You never forget your first professional sports game: the excitement in the air, the smell of popcorn and, of course, the crowd’s roar. Did you know that attending a sporting event can actually damage your hearing if you’re not careful? We review how this happens and how you can keep your ears safe below. How Do Loud Sounds Cause Damage? Within the cochlea, which is part of the inner ear, are tiny hair cells called stereocilia. The stereocilia’s job is to convert incoming soundwaves into electrical energy that travels via the auditory nerve to the brain to be interpreted as sound. When dangerously loud sounds pass through the ears, it can damage or destroy the stereocilia. Once damaged, the cells do not regenerate, and permanent sensorineural hearing loss is the result. How Loud Are Sporting Events? The threshold that is considered unsafe for a day of listening is 85 dB – about the volume of passing highway traffic or a café during the breakfast rush. The louder a sound is, the less time it takes to cause damage. In September of 2013, the Seattle Seahawks set the record for loudest stadium on record at a whopping 136.6 dB. The very next month, the Kansas City Chiefs topped them with a new record of 137.5 dB. This is loud enough to cause damage in as little as one to two minutes! Football isn’t the only loud sport. According to a 2019 study, the noise levels in baseball stadiums are high enough to cause hearing damage and/or tinnitus later. Their survey found that most respondents reported they did not consider wearing earplugs, and one-third experienced hearing muffled speech after the game. How You Can Protect Your Hearing Below are some tips for protecting your hearing during sporting events at Prudential Center: Wear hearing protection. Hands-down, the best thing you can do is wear hearing protection in the form of earplugs or earmuffs. These can be purchased inexpensively at the drug store or custom-ordered at Advanced ENT & Allergy.Try noise-canceling headphones. An alternative to hearing protection is noise-canceling headphones, if this is what you happen to have on hand instead.Take listening breaks. While it can be hard to find a quiet area of a sports stadium, spending a few minutes near the concessions or in the bathrooms can help give your ears a listening break. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Advanced ENT & Allergy today. Can Car Wrecks Lead to Hearing Loss?Learn About the History of Audiology Awareness MonthWhat Type of Hearing Protection Will Work Best for Me?