Ear we go, ear we go
The noise from vuvuzela, the trumpets set to provide the soundtrack to the World Cup, could leave fans with permanent hearing damage, experts have warned. The Hear the World Foundation – formed by Swiss hearing products group Phonak to raise awareness about hearing loss – found the trumpets were louder than a chainsaw in tests conducted in a sound-proof studio.
The vuvuzela was crowned the noisiest instrument at 127 decibels, beating the air horn at 123.5 decibels, with the samba drum and cow bells trailing in third and fourth.
Audiologist Robert Beiny said: “My advice to fans would be to enjoy the atmosphere that the World Cup creates, but also to consider their hearing. Why not give their ears a break from the noisy atmosphere at half time, or if they are one of the lucky ones heading to South Africa, remember to pack some earplugs – once the damage is done, it is irreversible, so prevention is key.”
Hear The World claims extended exposure to a relatively low 85 decibels risked permanent hearing loss. The noisy vuvuzela has been criticised by several managers and players during the Confederations Cup and warm-up matches. We can probably expect that to continue as the tournament gets under way.