Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hearing Loss from Vuvuzelas

Vuvuzela, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Vuvuzelas are popular in South Africa to cheer on World Cup teams, but people are reporting hearing loss and sickness from the instruments.

Apparently, vuvuzelas sound like "elephants in distress or the buzzing of a bee swarm" and are associated with both permanent and temporary hearing loss. They can also hurt your lips and if you share them, there's the risk of spreading germs.

According to this article, retail stores are ordering 7,500 earplugs in preparation. And if you're watching the World Cup online (or have an equalizer on your TV), here's an article from Lifehacker about how to silence the sound.

Something to keep in mind as you cheer on your team for the World Cup!


  1. Makes no difference at all to the deaf, we can't hear them. If silly hearing people want to deafen themselves and ignore warnings, there is nothing we can do about it. My only issue is WHEN they go deaf, they will come to our area expecting sympathy for deafening themselves. They may find little empathy then....

  2. You may hear differently, MM, but the sound of bees buzzing or elephants in distress would drive me up a wall.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with educating people about possible risks they may not be aware of. And I feel sympathetic towards anyone who has lost their hearing even if they made mistakes.

  3. I watched the World Cup for about 5 minutes and had to turn it off because of these things

  4. A third of young people under 25 in the UK already have hearing loss associated with 70 yr olds. That number is going UP every year. They are totally ignoring all warnings, "Better deaf than dead", "Noise is life", "Loud and proud", etc.

    We have been trying to lobby the UK government to demand all audio equipment has a limit forced on it volume wise. While we cannot force manufactures in America/China and elsewhere to comply there, we CAN pass local laws here to ban the sales of equipment that does not comply, so that is the route to take. It is totally ridiculous you can purchase household TVs/radios. CD players etc that have output louder than jumbo jets.

    It is NOT a mistake to ignore warnings, it is a deliberate ignoring of them, should we be simpatico to deaf wannabees ? Have we not enough issues already ?

  5. Megan (Nice welsh name), I don't hear anything at all, as for elephant noise I don't think we get much of that here, the only elephants we see are on a TV set. It isn't really about not educating people as tot he dangers, it is that the public especially our young people are totally ignoring warnings, should we empathise then ?

    Atypically when I posed the dangers on a site young people used, I got "Noise is life...", "Better deaf than dead", "loud and proud" as just 3 responses, the rest were ridicule about "Being old and past it".

    We should as a country ban audio equipment that has the capability to exceed safety levels for hearing. We can do that, even if we cannot prevent the manufacture of them. 34% of our young people exhibit hearing loss already associated with 70yr olds. Many would be in serious difficulty before age 35.

    Perhaps the only course open to government is to force people to comply for their own welfare. In the event youth is determined NOT to care for their hearing what else can we do ?

  6. Ears can have trauma with all the noise and that may lead to hear loss. We must always remember the consequences in abusing our ears.


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