Noise — the Bad Boy of Sports and Audiology

Noise has been topic of many past posts.  we’re tired of it and readers probably are too.  So why keep posting about noise?  

Because noise:

What a rap sheet.  You can see why we can’t leave it alone and neither can anyone else.  Now comes the ultimate noise effect, courtesy of two much-loved American traditions:  Thanksgiving and football.


“Be LOUD AND PROUD and blow my eardrums out!”


So goes the chant of a Kansas City Chiefs’ fan and member of Terrorhead Returns.  In case you haven’t heard of the Terrorheads, they are self-described as “a group of the most dedicated die hard loyal fan base in all of sports. We have been the loudest NFL stadium for decades.”  Their Facebook page shows 10,412 members and counting.  The banner picture on their Facebook page back in 2013 just shouts it out:


World Records and Other Dubious Claims to Fame


Terrorhead Returns is not the only group vying for noise titles in the Guinness Book of World Records. Volume 12 is a Seattle Seahawks group claiming to be the “World Record Holders for being the Loudest Fans Ever.”  Volume 12’s official Facebook page shouts “We are Volume 12 the loudness in the world!” to over 77,000 who have “Liked” their page.  Although both of these Facebook pages are now “Closed Groups” and you must have authorization to join them both now.

Table 1 is a hodge-podge, quick compilation of noise-sports-indoor/outdoor arenas and their various noise attributes.

Table 1. Sundry Noise Records and Information for NFL and NBA.

Sport Group/Event

dB Level

Fan Group

World Records and Sound Effects

Seattle Seahawks

136.6 dB

Volume 12

Likened to a “small earthquake”

Kansas City Chiefs

137.5 dB

Terrorhead Returns

World Record, outdoor stadium

NBA Sacramento Kings

126 dB


World Record, indoor arena

NFL  Game Levels

Average Level

Peak level

Mid 90 dB range

120 dB

Lasts about 3 times OSHA time limit

Likened to “an ambulance siren”



Too bad for Volume 12, Terrorhead Returns rocked the Seattle Seahawks for almost 1 dB more noise to “win” the world record for noise in an outdoor stadium. As an Audiologist, I have only one thing to say:  Just. Shoot. Us. Now.


What’s Not to Like?


“There’s nobody who says, ‘I wish my tinnitus was louder’.”   Jennifer Tufts, PhD Audiologist

And there’s nobody who says “I wish I had (more) hearing loss.”  So why do these fans push their ears to pain and injury?  Maybe they’re not listening?  

Once again sports fans, repeat after us.  Noise Hurts Hearing.  And that includes you Facebook Volume 12 people making noise in the back of the class.  Please say it again and this time with feeling: Noise Hurts Hearing.  Thank you.

Exposure to noise–either sudden loud noises or loud noises for longer time intervals–unequivocally provokes deleterious hearing effects which vary according to a person’s susceptibility and exposure.  Terrorhead Returns members — you can look forward to some or all the following, if you haven’t already gotten them:  permanent hearing loss, tinnitus, hyperacusis, ear pain. And you’re not going to “Like” them.


Here’s to Baseball Playoffs and Football Season!


But everybody “Likes” sports events because it’s all about our favorite teams, get togethers and communicating with friends and families.  The gatherings are often large and loud, which means you have to have very good hearing to participate fully.   If you go to a game, have fun but please protect your hearing so you can continue to “Like” future sports events and gatherings.


title photo courtesy of vimeo