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Keep Vuvuzelas Out Of Grounds Say Hearing Loss Charities

July 21, 2010

To some, they were the definitive sound of the World Cup, a celebration of African culture and must-have momento of this summer’s football festival; to others, they were just an irritating din. But now campaigners for hard-of-hearing people are urging football clubs in Britain to keep their stadiums free of the drone of the dreaded vuvuzelas when the new season kicks off next month.

They are warning that the blaring, horn-like sound from the instruments is so loud that fans of the nation’s favourite sport could suffer permanent hearing loss if fellow spectators at a match try to recreate the atmosphere from South Africa.

Vivienne Michael, chief executive of the charity Deafness Research UK, warned: “These tuneless trumpets can emit sounds in excess of 130 decibels, equivalent to a jumbo jet taking off, and as the national charity concerned with deafness research and related issues, Deafness Research UK would like to see an urgent ban on these instruments.”

Fans in close proximity to vuvuzelas being blown risk suffering tinnitus, a painful ringing in the ears, or long-term loss of hearing, Michael added. Extended exposure to noise at 85 decibels is enough to irretrievably diminish hearing, she added.

So far, eight of England’s 20 Premier League clubs have banned them, including, Arsenal, Liverpool and West Ham. But Celtic and other clubs appear willing to let fans use them.

Another hearing charity, the RNID, wants fans to protect their own and others’ hearing by not taking them into grounds. “A vuvuzela just behind you will hit you with more than 125 decibels of sound – much louder than a road drill – which will really hurt your ears,” said Crystal Rolfe, its audiology specialist.

A Premier League spokesman said: “Nothing in our rules specifically prohibits musical instruments from being brought into grounds, as such matters are dealt with at club level. It will be down to stadium managers, in consultation with supporter groups, to determine what is appropriate.”

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