What's in this blog? Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids

"Mankind is terrified of silence, is uncomfortable in the quiet, is this the reason they need so much going on around them that is noisy? "

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hockey Games, Loud ? 100 plus dB

Last Friday my wife and I attended our first professional hockey game. The Texas Stars won 2-1. It was three hours of very loud noises. The game was fast and fun to watch. When the Stars scored a goal, the air horn was loud enough for my wife to cover her ears. There was a little girl a few seats from us wearing hearing protection. Read below to find out why.

Here's a quote from a government study on the noise levels at the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoff's.

Noise Level at Hockey games

During game 3 of the series, the scoring of goals led to fairly obvious spikes in the noise level (Fig. 1figure 
17FF1). A level of 120 dB A is roughly equivalent to the sound level of a jet taking flight. (A-weighting is a filtering function applied to the noise dosimeter so that it is sensitive to input frequencies in the same way as the typical adult ear is.) The intermissions offered a temporary reprieve for the ears, but even during those interludes, the noise level was such that in an equivalent 8 h/day workplace environment, hearing protection would be required by law.
figure 17FF1
Fig. 1: Noise exposure level for the duration of game 3 of the 2006 Stanley Cup finals. Key points of interest are indicated. The red line at 90 dB indicates a derived “safe” level of this 3-hour game. Sounds above the line have the potential (more ...)
The average exposure levels for each game (> 3 hours) were 104.1, 100.7 and 103.1 dB. Standards have been defined for maximum allowable daily noise doses,2 and an average level of 85 dB A for 8 hours is generally considered the maximum allowable daily noise dose. Stated differently, this means that there is a risk of hearing damage if you experience that level of noise for more than 8 hours. For each 3 dB increase in average noise level, the time you can safely stay at a level is halved. Thus, at 88 dB, it would take only 4 hours to reach the maximum allowable daily noise dose, at 91 dB it would take only 2 hours, and so on. For the levels experienced in game 3 of the series, the time to reach the maximum allowable daily noise dose was less than 6 minutes. In terms of projected noise dose, each person in the arena not wearing hearing protection received about 8100% of their daily allowable noise dose. Given that most fans do not wear hearing protection during hockey games, thousands are at risk for hearing damage.
Next time, I am taking my hearing aids out and putting my ear plugs in!

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