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Studies Show Dangerous Noise Levels at Sporting Events

Noise generated during an exciting basketball game can damage your hearing capability, said an expert.noise-induced hearing loss, hearing loss causes, hearing loss and sports

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.

"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," he said.

Hull said many gyms are equivalent to echo chambers. The sound bite is 14 seconds and the outcue is "might have otherwise."

"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," he said.

Hull said 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.

"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," he said.

Hull said 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."

In order to prevent unnecessary hearing loss, Hull encourages fans to wear ear protectors at basketball games.

"My recommendation is to enjoy the game, but also protect our hearing, we should be wearing hearing protectors, and by that I'm talking about earplugs, the noise reducing plugs that can be bought at the grocery store or any sporting goods store," he said.

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