Update: The New York Times covered the ongoing battle for the "loudest stadium" in a November 17 article which can be read here. Interestingly, it included quotes from the NFL which support these type of promotions without encouraging fans to take precautions.
With the play on the field for the 2013 NFL season in full-swing, several teams fans have engaged in a friendly competition of their own to determine which stadium is the loudest in the world.
On September 15, 2013, during a game against the San Francisco 49ers, the Seattle Seahawks CenturyLink Field became the Guinness World Record holder for the loudest stadium in the world after sound engineers recorded a decibel level of 136.6 dB. This beat the previous record held by Turkish soccer club Galatasaray S.K.
Congrats to the @Seahawks who hit 136.6 dbA for "largest crowd roar at a sports stadium" record on #MNF last night in a 29-3 win over @49ers
— GuinnessWorldRecords (@GWRnews) September 16, 2013
Not to be outdone, fans of the Kansas City Chief are going to attempt to top Seattle's newly minted record this weekend when the team hosts the Oakland Raiders.
While it is easy to applaud the spirit of each team's fan base with these efforts, nearly all experts agree that these sound levels can potentially cause serious damage to those in attendance.
"Any sound over 100 dB for even as little as an hour can cause hearing damage," said Dave Fabry, Ph.D., and Starkey Hearing Technologies' Managing Director of Starkey Sales. "We really need to get out of the temptation to try to blow our eardrums out and intentionally cause hearing loss. Fans can still cheer loud and enjoy the dynamics of a sporting event and protect their hearing at the same time."
One easy and inexpensive way fans can to this is to wear foam ear plugs. As part of a new partnership with Starkey Hearing Technologies, the Minnesota Vikings will be providing Starkey branded hearing foam ear plugs to fans at 2013 home games, including this Sunday's game vs. the Carolina Panthers.
"I commend the Vikings for recognizing that even though Mall of America Field (and the Metrodome) is the one of the loudest stadiums in the the NFL and they want fans to cheer loud, that it is important to protect their hearing as well," said Fabry, a longtime Green Bay Packers fan.