That twelfth man may be great for hearing aid sales. But, is it good for society, or even legal?
But, what do these numbers mean?
What are they actually bragging about?
Well, as an Occupational Hearing Conservationist, hit the read more button, and I’ll tell you what they are really bragging about.
With the scale they provide on their 12th man page, the SeaHawks are actually bragging about sound levels, that by the very scale they provide, are damaging to hearing.
Only, the scale they show is quite misleading, in that they show damage, as occurring after an eight hour exposure, of 90 dB for "Hearing Damage" and 100 dB for "Serious Hearing Damage".
While I'll not split hairs over the difference between what they are calling hearing damage, and serious hearing damage, the time scale displayed for when damage occurs, is totally diss-proven by both the scientific research, and the resultant OSHA regulations dealing with safe noise exposure levels, and times.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration has determined that at the level of 85 dB SPL, the maximum safe exposure level is 15 minutes. That’s right, 85dB for 15 minutes.
It used to be 90 dB, but the scientific evidence of damage occurring at the lower level of 85 dB was so incontrovertible, that the standards were changed downward, to better protect workers from the actual dangers present at the lower level. This against significant lobbying by industry.
There simply is no safe exposure time prior to permanent damage occurring, at the levels being bragging about.
For those of you not familiar with the decibel scale for measuring sound, it starts at 0 and goes up from there. With 0 on the Sound Pressure Level (SPL) scale being the total absence of sound pressure. The levels of normal speech fall somewhere between 40-50 dB, with, a whisper at from 25-35, with a shout reaching, as high as 95-100, within a meter of the speaker, or er shouter.
However, this scale, is not a linear one, where each new decibel equals the same amount of increased energy. No, due to the span being measured, from 0 energy units present to, hundreds of millions of energy units present, at the higher end of measurable sound, they created the decibel scale, which is logarithmic, or a steeply curving scale, rather than a straight line.
At the bragged upon volumes of 137 dB SPL, the SeaHawks’ stadium may not even be the loudest. But, when taken in the context of what those sounds are doing to each, and every player’s, fan’s, official’s, and employee’s hearing, just what is there to brag about?
Oh, our stadium is designed to amplify crowd sounds to such a level, as to deafen all who attend, and we are very proud of it!
Just look what it does to our opponents ability to execute on the field!
Are we really so socially blind, and selfish?
What are the legal, and liability implications of venues and teams, who regularly expose their invitees to levels of noise scientifically proven to cause permanent hearing loss, even from a single attendance?
What laws, or waivers makes the NFL and NCAA immune from the same laws that govern the protection of workers in the workplace, when that workplace, is one of these stadiums, or other sports venue with a known noise exposure in the danger zone?
Where are the warning signs, and literature, advising fans that it is simply unsafe to attend without effective noise attenuation gear?
Are we so enthralled by the roar of the crowds, and sounds of conflict on the field that we have chosen to turn a blind eye as a society, to the permanent damage, and subsequent losses that occur from exposing literally millions of folks each year to such dangers, without seriously advising them of the hazard that we are enticing them into?
Is our sports profit motive so sacred, that we’ll gladly, and silently sacrifice our, and our fans hearing for it?
What are the causes of this willful ignorance?
Where are all of those eager, class action law firms, when the public really needs them?
At, a football game getting their hearing damaged, perhaps.
What do you feel about an entire industry that brags about the noise levels that are permanently damaging their fans hearing with each attendance?
I’d like to know, please leave me your comments, good, or bad.
How do you feel about the unbridled use of sound in sports & entertainment venues?
Now, don’t misunderstand if, you are a fan.
I’m not saying don’t enjoy your favorite sports venue, however noisy. Just don’t forget your ear protection. Attending without, does permanent damage to your hearing, whether it shows up right away, or not. You just can’t cheat the physics.
Be wise, save your hearing. Wear your ear protection whenever you are around any loud sounds for any length of time, even just weed whacking, or working with that router, or skill saw at home.
But, especially if you’re planning on attending any sport such as a race, or football game where those sound are going to be loud, and lasting. Protect yourself, even if no one else does.
Again, wear your ear protection, your hearing is too valuable to waste.