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Why being the ‘world’s loudest stadium’ is a bad idea
Melissa Dahl and Linda Carroll, TODAY
Elaine Thompson / AP
Seattle Seahawks fans cheer during a preseason game on Aug. 17, 2013 in Seattle. Fans will compete Sunday to become the “world’s loudest stadium.”
Seattle Seahawks fans like to boast that theirs is the noisiest stadium in the world. On Sunday, they’ll get their chance to prove it: A Guinness World Records representative will be at CenturyLink to measure the decibel level of Seahawks fans as their team plays rivals San Francisco 49ers. It’s the end result of a showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs, who have also long claimed bragging rights for their Arrowhead Stadium as the world’s loudest sports facility.
While the goal of a roaring crowd may be about whipping fans into a greater frenzy and “intimidating” the opposing teams and players, as a KC Chiefs Facebook fan page claims, it’s not only a bad idea for fans’ hearing — it doesn’t really help the home team, experts say.
Seattle is going to have to beat the current world record of 131.76 decibels, set by fans at a 2011 soccer match in Istanbul, Turkey. But if Seahawks fans are named World’s Loudest on Sunday — what, even, is the point? Decades of research have looked at the effect of a noisy crowd on athletic performance and there’s never been any conclusive, scientific evidence that a boisterous crowd does indeed help the home team win, social and sport psychologists say.
“So the Seattle Seahawks are trying for this crowd record — is that going to help their players win or play better? I would put a big question mark on that,” says Robert Weinberg, who specializes in sport psychology at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. “Maybe it will; maybe it won’t. That’s what the research would say.”
A lot of fans think that just because there is a home court advantage, “or you have loud, vociferous fans, it’s going to help your team perform better,” Weinberg says. “That’s not necessarily – it can be – but it’s not necessarily the case.”
Besides that — what about your poor ears?
What it is most certainly doing is damaging the hearing of every person in attendance. People don’t recognize how much damage they can do to their hearing, says Alison Grimes, an assistant clinical professor of head/neck surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and director of audiology at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
“People will say, ‘Oh, it was just for 10 minutes,’” Grimes says. “And what I tell my patients is that noise is cumulative over the lifetime. Each time you use a chain saw or ride a motorcycle or go to a stadium to make the sound meter reach the top, it accumulates.”
Before the Sunday game, every Seattle fan should, at the very least, buy the over-the-counter ear plugs, says Dr. Anil Lalwani, professor and vice chair for research, director of the division of otology, neurotology and skull base surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. “Those will lower the sound level by about 15 to 20 decibels. Wearing those with headphones can bring it down by a total of 40 decibels.”
The thing to keep in mind is that there is a reciprocal relationship between the intensity of the sound and the duration you can be exposed to it, Grimes said.
“If you’re literally talking about 130 decibels – nobody should ever be exposed to that,” Grimes said. “There isn’t a safe amount of time for 130 decibels. It’s physically painful as well as acoustically damaging.”
Remember, “hair cells in your ear don’t grow back. There is no Rogaine for your inner ear,” warns Grimes. “While hearing aids work really well, there is no substitute for natural hearing.”
That’s why parents should be especially careful about bringing their children to the Sunday game or any other loud stadium without ear protection. Already, tens of millions of kids ages 12 to 19 are showing signs of hearing loss — nearly one in 5 — largely because of portable music devices. Hours in a very loud environment — a sports event or rock concert — can create a cumulative effect on fragile ears, experts say.
Not everyone’s ears will be hurt the same amount. Some may leave the game unscathed, while others may experience significant hearing loss, Lalwani said.
If the noise is sustained at 130 decibels or louder, “there are going to be some unhappy people leaving that stadium,” Lalwani said. “They may have ringing in their ears, a loss of clarity for a day or so – some may have permanent [damage].”
So while the Seahawks and Chiefs fans battle it out for the loudest stadium title during the 2013 season, they should keep in mind that winning that title might not help them clinch the real championship prize.
In the end, while a loud environment can increase physical arousal — psychologically speaking, that means a player might be more alert and very reactive to external stimulation — increased physical arousal has also been shown to negatively effect fine motor skills – like the skills a quarterback might depend on, Weinberg says. (That’s one of the reasons behind the hush at golf tournaments as the players try to sink a six-foot putt.)
And what about the impact of all that noise on people’s emotional and physical well-being? Loud noises can make people irritable, says Lalwani. So, if the Seahawks lose the game against San Francisco and fail to clinch the Guinness record, there may be some very cranky Seattle fans Sunday night.
Here is the August 12 th Island County Commissioner’s meeting where they vote on the pro- navy/ OLF Resolution
We are ALL Pro-Navy and encourage EVERYONE to display a Pro-Navy Pro-Business support sign!
Thank you Coupeville Chamber of Commerce for providing us all with signs.
Citizens of the Reserve are…..
FOR an NASWI in Oak Harbor.
FOR an Environmental Impact Statement and Study regarding the Outlying Field in Coupeville.
FOR the best equipment and training conditions for our young men and women in the United States Navy.
FOR the historic community of Coupeville and the people and businesses who make this their home.
We Are Pro Serving You: Civilians and Military Alike
Dear Friends, Supporters and Member of the Citizens of the Reserve;
There will be a demonstration by the pro-OLF supporters this Saturday at
11:30 on the bridge over the highway in Coupeville. This will follow a
similar demonstration in Oak Harbor on the same morning. We are advising
people not to counter these demonstrations.
Saturday is the beginning of the Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival, a
major event for Central Whidbey. We find the timing and location of this
pro-OLF military demonstration in Coupeville inappropriate and unfortunate.
Instead of creating more public division, we encourage you to take a few
moments to call your Island County Commissioner, State Representative and/or
your Congressional Representative to request the Navy complete an
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Outlying Field in Coupeville
To date, the U.S. Navy has not responded to the law suit requesting an
Environmental Impact Statement be completed on aircraft transitions at the
OLF in Coupeville and we encourage you to ask your political leaders to
support and EIS for OLF.
An Environmental Impact Statement is warranted and this study will provide
data about the impact of these jets on the environment, on health, on safety
and on the EA-18 Growler jets impact on the local economy. This seems like
a good place to start and national environmental policies (NEPA) support
Make your call today! We thank you being pro-active about a field too small
and too old to be safe for the young men and women assigned to today¹s Naval
flight operations. We are counting on you!
Kelly Emerson District number three 360-544-2958
Jill Johnson District number two 360-544-2961
Helen Price Johnson District number one 360-632-1168
Congressperson Rick Larsen 1-800-562-1385
Senator Maria Cantwell 202-224-3441
Senator Patty Murray 202-224-2621