DuraLabel's Weekly Safety News

Blog Author Angelique Sanders

Weekly safety news. Stay in touch with regulations from OSHA, NFPA, and other safety codes. Find out about other companies' best and worst practices. We scour the internet to provide you with helpful training resources and the latest safety information.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Research Blows the Whistle on Noise Hazards in Sports Venues

The current issue the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (JOEH) examines noise exposures among spectators, workers in hockey arenas, and referees and other officials.  In all cases it was found that the noise level at sporting events is causing hearing damage.

Two papers published in this month's issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (JOEH) address noise hazards in sports venues. Noise controls are often enforced only when workers have been exposed to noise levels beyond recognized standards, and only in workplaces and industries known for frequent noise exposure, such as manufacturing and construction. However, high noise levels in any workplace put employees at risk for noise-induced hearing loss, including nontraditional fields such as sports arenas and venues. The two articles appear in the January issue of JOEH.

The first article, “Occupational and Recreational Noise Exposure from Indoor Arena Hockey
studies noise exposures at arenas during collegiate and semi-professional hockey games. The research revealed that a significant number of workers and attendees within the arenas were exposed to harmful noise levels. The research may provide a foundation for noise control implementation in indoor sports arenas. The article is available at

The second article, “Sports Officials’ Hearing Status: Whistle Use as a Factor Contributing to
Hearing Trouble,”
examines hearing loss among sports officials. Researchers conducted a survey regarding officials’ exposure to whistle noise and subsequent symptoms of hearing loss and tinnitus. Findings from the survey and related study suggest that whistle contributes to hearing loss among sports officials. The article is available at

“These two papers describe a health hazard – high noise levels causing permanent hearing loss – that is prevalent but pretty much unappreciated in the world of sports,” said JOEH Editor in Chief Mark Nicas, PhD, CIH. “While severe traumatic injuries and degenerative brain disorders due to concussive blows are recognized as severe hazards among athletes, exposure to high noise likely affects far more individuals (spectators and referees), and the resulting permanent hearing loss decreases the quality of life of those affected. We hope these papers will alert the sports world to explore preventive measures.”

JOEH is published jointly by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) and ACGIH.

Related past posts:
Employee's Hard Hat Hits Support Beam
ASSE Suggests OSHA Lower Workplace Noise Exposure Levels
AIHA Testifies Before Senate HELP Committee

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posted by Steve Hudgik
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