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WSU Newsline: Noise at basketball games may harm your hearing

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Go to http://www.wichita.edu/newsline to get the current Wichita State University Newsline. If you cannot access the Newsline at the Web address above, contact Joe Kleinsasser at (316) 978-3013 or cell (316) 204-8266 or joe.kleinsasser@wichita.edu. Newsline cuts may be edited to suit your needs.

If you have additional questions for Ray Hull after listening to the WSU Newsline, please contact him at (316) 978-3271 or ray.hull@wichita.edu.

Background:
An exciting basketball game often generates deafening noise. That noise may not cause people to become deaf, but it most certainly can result in hearing loss, according to Wichita State University audiologist Ray Hull.

Voice wrap:
Announcer: At college and professional basketball games across the nation, noise has become part of the show. Even at middle school and high school games, gymnasiums are like echo chambers, reverberating with sounds from the pep band and shrieking fans. All of this noise concerns Wichita State University audiologist Ray Hull.

Hull: “Basketball games from grade school, middle school, high school, college and on into professional levels are fun, they’re exciting, but they’re also very loud. And therefore, without realizing it, our hearing can become affected.”

Announcer: Hull says those who are most susceptible to hearing loss are those sitting in or near the pep band. Hull isn’t against crowd noise and enthusiasm at basketball games, but he says in order to prevent unnecessary hearing loss, fans should wear inexpensive noise reducing ear plugs. This is Joe Kleinsasser at Wichita State University.

Sound bite #1
Hull says many gyms are equivalent to echo chambers. The sound bite is 14 seconds and the outcue is “might have otherwise.”

Hull: “From small gymnasiums to large arenas, almost inadvertently they are designed to amplify sound. They are reverberation chambers. Therefore they amplify sound more than they might have otherwise.”

Sound bite #2
Hull says the intensity level at some basketball games can permanently damage hearing. The sound bite is 22 seconds and the outcue is “seven and a half minutes.”

Hull: “When you combine all the noise that we listen to during a basketball game, the intensity of that noise -- from the pep band to the crowd, the PA system -- can reach levels that are damaging to our hearing up to around 115 decibels. At that intensity level, we can stand that noise without permanent damage to our hearing for approximately seven and a half minutes.”

Sound bite #3
Hull says those most susceptible to hearing loss are those who are sitting in or near the pep band. The sound bite is 22 seconds and the outcue is “of exposure.”

Hull: “Those who are most susceptible to damage to their hearing are those who are sitting, for example, near the pep band or, of course for those in the pep band, because intensity levels can reach 125 to 130 decibels. At that intensity level, you are susceptible to permanent damage to your hearing after about a minute and a half of exposure.”

Sound bite #4
Hull encourages fans to wear ear protectors at basketball games. The sound bite is 20 seconds and the outcue is “sporting goods store.”

Hull: “My recommendation is that to enjoy the game, but also protect our hearing, we should be wearing hearing protectors, and by that I’m talking about ear plugs, the noise reducing plugs that can be bought at the grocery store or any sporting goods store.”

Sound bite #5
Hull explains why many people don’t wear hearing protection at basketball games. The sound bite is 21 seconds and the outcue is “during a basketball game.”

Hull: “I think the reason why people don’t wear hearing protectors as much as they should is because either they’re not aware of the potential damage to their hearing, or perhaps they don’t care, or perhaps they don’t want to look like a wimp by wearing hearing protection during a basketball game.”

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