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n South African Medical Journal - Football match spectator sound exposure and effect on hearing : a pretest-post-test study : original article
Objectives. To determine (i) noise exposure levels of spectators at a FIFA 2010 designated training stadium during a premier soccer league match; and (ii) changes in auditory functioning after the match.
Methods. This was a one-group pretest-post-test design of football spectators attending a premier soccer league match at a designated FIFA 2010 training stadium in Gauteng, South Africa. Individual spectator noise exposure for the duration of the football match and post-match changes in hearing thresholds were measured with pure-tone audiometry, and cochlear functioning was measured with distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs).
Results. The average sound exposure level during the match was 100.5 LAeq (dBA), with peak intensities averaging 140.4 dB(C). A significant (p=0.005) deterioration of post-match hearing thresholds was evident at 2 000 Hz, and post-match DPOAE amplitudes were significantly reduced at 1 266, 3 163 and 5 063 Hz (p=0.011, 0.019, 0.013, respectively).
Conclusions. Exposure levels exceeded limits of permissible average and peak sound levels. Significant changes in post-match hearing thresholds and cochlear responsiveness highlight the possible risk for noise-induced hearing loss. Public awareness and personal hearing protection should be prioritised as preventive measures.
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