From high school fields to NFL stadiums, football teams all over the country will be taking to the field this autumn to compete. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the sport and health hazards that exist within it, they may suffer damage to their hearing health over the course of the football season.
Why is football dangerous for hearing health?
It’s no surprise that there are dangers that come along with sports, but football and other contact sports have their own specific dangers and risks due to the prevalence of head injuries among players.
Head injuries can cause hearing loss, and according to a 2014 study, that means retired NFL players may be at risk for hearing loss and tinnitus.
The study notes that blunt force trauma to the head — commonly sustained while playing football — can jar the brain and damage the nerves that connect the brain to the inner ear.
Head trauma, according to the study, can also create a shock wave that damages the cochlea, a portion of the inner ear that receives sound, leading to hearing loss and tinnitus.
Trauma caused by football is not reserved for those at a professional level. An estimated 283,000 children seek care in U.S. emergency departments each year for a sports-related or recreation-related traumatic brain injury. Football is one of the leading causes of those recorded visits.
And injuries aren’t the only danger to your ears at football games. Noise from excited fans, such as loud, consistent cheering and airhorns, can exceed safe decibel levels. That can be dangerous for the hearing health of both the players and the spectators.
According to the CDC, the noise levels at football games can reach up to 100 decibels. At that level, you can experience hearing loss in as little as 15 minutes.
Are you interested in more articles about exercise and sports-related hearing loss? Learn more with this post: What is Exercise-Induced Hearing Loss?
Protecting your hearing at football games
Noise-induced hearing loss is a serious problem that affects millions of Americans, but with the proper use of ear protection, it’s often entirely preventable.
Fortunately, as a fan, you can bring hearing protection with you to the football game to protect your hearing as you cheer on your favorite team or player.
Simply purchase earplugs, available over the counter at a variety of stores, and pack them in your game bag along with your foam finger, seat cushion and other goodies!
As a football player or coach, you may not be able to wear hearing protection on the field, but you can wear hearing protection on the bench or during half-time.
In addition, you can protect those playing the game by making sure everyone wears a regulation helmet, pads, shoes, and a mouthguard. You can add extra protection for the head and neck with a padded neck roll.
Other football health tips include:
Limit contact during practices to reduce the amount of trauma sustained
Make sure all players are trained in proper tackling techniques and follow all rules regarding proper tackling to mitigate injuries
Ensure players are warmed up and conditioned appropriately before they take to the field
While football can be a dangerous game, with the proper gear, training, and techniques, you can help prevent some of the injuries that cause hearing loss and tinnitus.
Also, if you’re a football player or coach, pay attention to the fact that you may be exposed to loud noise on a regular basis, and therefore may run a high risk of sustaining hearing loss as well.
Schedule annual hearing screenings with a hearing healthcare professional. If you are being screened regularly, you can catch hearing loss early and get help before it progresses!
What if I'm already experiencing hearing loss?
People with hearing loss can often use a hearing aid to help them hear clearly again. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communications Disorders (NIDCD) states that 28.8 million U.S. adults could benefit from using hearing aids.
If you are suffering from hearing loss, there are affordable hearing aid options available.
At Advanced Affordable Hearing, we provide advanced hearing aids at affordable prices, and our knowledgeable, friendly staff is always happy to help you find the best hearing aid for you and your situation.
Feel free to call one of our hearing aid professionals at 1 (800) 804-0434 today to discuss your options.