You’ve got your mates, your gear and your beer – and you’re having a ball. After the game, though, there’s a good chance that your ears will be ringing or buzzing. This is normal after a big, noisy event. Your ears simply can’t handle the temporary pressure. And most of the time, they will go back to normal again.
But what does it mean if they don’t? Well, you could have tinnitus.
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is normally triggered by loud noises that damage the delicate cells of the inner ear. The consequence is a buzz or whooshing sound generated by your nervous system or by your brain. Tinnitus is a symptom of various chronic conditions that make the affected person hear sound when no sound is present. It can manifest as a ringing, buzzing or humming noise. Up to 15% of the population experience tinnitus.
Tinnitus and hearing loss go hand in hand
When you have hearing loss, your brain sometimes overcompensates by creating its own ‘background noise’. Most people suffering from tinnitus have some form of associated hearing loss with the nerves involved in hearing.
Vuvuzelas create a buzz at the 2010 FIFA World Cup
At the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, one big concern was the local plastic trumpets which are used at festive events. The vuvuzela averages 100db and peaks at 130db. At these noise levels, the vuvuzela can induce permanent hearing loss when you’re exposed to it for more than 10 minutes, two professors warned. They also encouraged game-goers to wear protective gear for their hearing.
Before the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the two professors had studied how noise at these loud vuvuzela levels affected hearing in a stadium of 30,000 people. The 11 test participants had all sustained significant hearing loss – albeit only temporarily.
And, although the state of temporary hearing loss could turn into a permanent hearing impairment when you’re exposed to that level of noise for even a short amount of time, thankfully it’s more the exception than the rule. So go on and root for your team at the 2018 FIFA World Cup! Have your beers and shout your cheers – and remember to take good care of your hearing.
Do you suffer from tinnitus? Here are a few tips to help you through the day.
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