Dec 22, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers fans react in the first half against the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers won 26-13.Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

NFL games may damage hearing

A scratchy throat and losing your voice aren’t the only problems that can result from all the yelling and screaming at NFL games.

With all the talk of the 12th Man and home-field advantage, Dr. Victor H. Bray, Dean of the Salus University George S. Osborne College of Audiology, and his colleagues, are concerned about potential hearing damage amid the increasingly deafening drumbeat to rock the house on the road to the Super Bowl.

“The decibel levels at most football stadiums are beginning to resemble NASCAR races, so it makes good sense for fans to bring and use hearing protection,” said Bray. “As a general rule, if a fan has to shout to be heard by the person next to them, that’s a sure sign that it’s loud enough to warrant the use of earplugs or headphones. Use of foam earplugs, especially early in life, is easy and relatively inexpensive compared to the reliance on hearing aids later in life.”

Dr. Bray, whose colleague Dr. Thomas Thunder, concentrates his clinical practice on hearing-related occupational health and safety, reminds that hearing loss associated with loud-sound environments is usually easily preventable by taking precautions. However, once it occurs, hearing loss is also irreversible.

“Unfortunately, hearing damage typically occurs without pain and we are not aware of the overexposure until it is too late,” added Dr. Thunder.

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Tags: NFL