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Blow-by-Blow Vuvuzelas

 The distinctive noise that you heard at South Africa’s World Cup games is produced by the vuvuzela - a two-foot-long plastic blowing horn. This wind instrument has become a symbol of South African soccer games. It produces sound so loud it can cause temporary tinnitus - ringing in the ears without external sound - to permanent hearing loss, especially when surrounded by the plastic trumpets in a stadium.

 A hearing loss charity in the UK sent warning to soccer fans to protect their eardrums. The trumpet can pump out sound up to 130 decibels - 10 decibels above what the human ear can endure - depending on the blowing technique and pressure exerted.

 Just how noisy is a vuvuzela? Well, it produces sound louder than a lawn mower or chain saw at 110 decibels or an ambulance at 120 decibels.

 Prolonged exposure to sounds above 85 decibels can damage the ears. As such, permanent noise-induced hearing loss could result. This can be aggravated by music and other noise after the games.

 This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.




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