Seahawks Win – Fans Lose for Winning

This past Sunday evening (9/15/13) was a special evening in Seattle-town. The Seahawks overpowered their opponent while the fans succeeded in setting a record for the loudest stadium in the world. The old record was set at the Ali Sami Yen Sport Complex Turk Telekom Arena in Turkey during a soccer match in 2011 – where the crowd set a record by recording a noise level of 130.2dB. Seattle fans, not to be outdone, upped the level to 130.9dB – a truly ear-splitting record. But while the Seahawk fans, better known as the 12th Man, succeeded in making the most noise, many, if not all of them will suffer later on for their effort. Noise induced hearing loss is at epidemic levels in this country with one out of five Americans over the age of 12 having a hearing loss severe enough to cause difficulty in their communication. This incredible number, 20%, is the result of our extremely noisy society. Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by our ears being exposed to noises in excess of what our ears can handle. We might believe that our attendance at events where noise prevails (stadium events, rock concerts, noisy restaurants, etc.) won’t hurt us, but the fact is that noise induced hearing loss – one of the primary components of sensorineural hearing loss category – builds up over time and is not reversible. Most people lose their hearing very slowly. So slowly in fact, that for most people, it takes almost a decade between when they begin to feel that they have a hearing loss until they decide that its time to...

Finding Quiet by Turning Up the Volume: People are Retreating into a World of Increasing Volume… Losing Their Hearing and More

Our world is filed with noises, some invited, others not. Voices of conversation, babies crying, music and the warning sounds of car horns and alarms are invited. Externally, the sounds of buses, trucks, motorcycles and the broad low frequency hum of ever present office electronics are not. Multi-speaker televisions, stereos and conveniences devices have overtaken our homes. Our entertainment has become louder without our awareness but with our permission. Digital sound has allowed movie theaters to dramatically boost sound levels without distortion. Needless to say our beloved rock concerts use extreme volume to pump up the crowd and “drive the sound into our inner being” but in doing that they have become painfully loud. Even our “quiet-little-booth-in-the-corner” restaurant is no longer quiet. It seems that we can’t escape from excessive noise, which can be problematic and distracting for anyone seeking a little quiet and solitude for concentration, creativity or rest. Where can we go to find a little quiet? Home? Library? How about the neighborhood park? Many people, it seems, have given up even looking. Instead of seeking quiet time, people are gravitating towards self-directed distraction. To block out the noise around us we plug-up our ears and turn up the volume. MP3 players, cell phones, personal video game players…. people of all ages use them, not only to keep themselves entertained, but to block out the surrounding noise. Fighting noise with our own self-chosen noise requires us to crank up the volume even louder than the noise we’re trying to avoid. In general, it takes about 13 dB of additional volume to begin to block out the outside...