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These people's ears are probably not happy right now. (Trevor Dykstra)

The People Who Went to the Super Bowl Are Now a Little Bit More Deaf

Major sports games are loud enough to cause permanent hearing loss

Back in December Seattle Seahawks fans, probably practicing for yesterday's Super Bowl win, caused a minor earthquake with a cheer that won the world record for crowd noise. The cheer, says Guinness World Records, topped out at 137.6 decibels.

This massive level of crowd noise is an exception, but not much of one. Hearing loss can begin at just 90 decibels—louder than a subway train, quieter than a motorcycle—and 140 decibels can cause permanent damage with just a short exposure. To all you football fans who actually attended the Super Bowl yesterday, we're sorry, but you're now a little bit more deaf.

According to the CBC, hearing loss is a danger at any major sporting event.

The noise of an entire NHL playoff game was equivalent to sitting next to a chainsaw for three hours, said Hodgetts, who is also with the the university's Institute for Reconstructive Sciences in Medicine. When the home team scored, temporarily the noise was like a plane taking off....

"Each time your ears have been ringing, that is evidence of hearing loss. There's no recovery mechanism in place for the death of those inner ear cells," said Dr. Tim Rindlisbacher, director of sports health at Cleveland Clinic in Toronto.

It's too late for everyone who was at the MetLife stadium last night (especially Broncos fans), but in the future, pack some ear plugs.

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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