Ear plugs for sporting events

Author thumbnail Georgia Woodcock  |  Published 28 April 2023  | Updated 16 May 2024  | 5 mins read

Football ball on a field.

With the warmer months just around the corner, it is safe to say that we are heading towards an exciting season of sports and sporting events! We’ve got Wimbledon, the F1, the FA Cup final and the Women’s World Cup to look forward to, and that’s not including all the fantastic local sporting events you could be taking part in. 

But whether you are enjoying the festivities of spectatorship or taking part in an event yourself, make sure to take some time to think about protecting your hearing.

Decibel gauge stopping at 70dB.

How loud is too loud?

We know hearing isn’t always at the top of our minds, especially when we are planning to go to a big event, but did you know that prolonged exposure to high levels of sound can cause irreversible damage to your hearing?

So how loud is too loud?

We measure sound in decibels, where a normal conversation is around 60 dB. But when these decibels start creeping up, that’s when prolonged exposure can cause damage to our hearing. In fact, too much exposure to sounds over 85dB can cause damage. For every 3dB you go up thereafter, your safe exposure limit halves. At 85dB it’s 8 hours, 88dB is 4hrs, 91dB 2hrs, etc. So by the time you are up to 100dB, you can only be exposed for up to 15 mins before damage may occur.  The longer we are exposed and the higher the decibel volume, the more we are putting ourselves at risk of developing noise-induced hearing loss.

Here are just a few sporting examples.

Shooting sports: Probably the most obvious choice, but did you know that a single gunshot can come in anywhere between 140-165 dB? That’s louder than an ambulance siren, a jackhammer and even a jet engine as it takes off! Whether you are spectating or taking part, hearing protection is a MUST.

Motorsport: Whether motorcycles are your thing, or you are a fond follower of the F1, anything with an engine (and a substantial amount of horsepower) equals loud. A fully revved racing car can reach up to 130 dB, and some motorcycles are even louder! So if you’ve been lucky enough to have secured weekend tickets for Silverstone this year, make sure you invest in some ear plugs. 

Attending sporting events: Yes, even if the sport you are watching isn’t the loudest, we know just how loud sporting fans can get! Even 90 minutes in a crowd chanting ‘Sweet Caroline’ on repeat can rack up those decibels and have been recorded to reach up to 130 dB.

Tennis?: Well maybe a game of tennis won’t damage your hearing, but did you know one of the loudest tennis grunts recorded peaked at just over 100 dB?

What are the benefits of wearing ear plugs at sporting events?

Now you know a little bit more about the risks high levels of sound exposure pose to your hearing, let’s have a look at some of the benefits you get from wearing ear plugs.

  • Ear plugs can significantly reduce the level of sound that gets through to our ears, so we can comfortably enjoy sporting events without discomfort or damage.
  • Wearing ear plugs to sporting events can also help prevent some symptoms of tinnitus which are often brought on by exposure to loud sounds.
  • Ear plugs can also make concentration easier as they help to block out background noise.
  • Finally, and probably the most important benefit to wearing ear plugs at a sporting event, is that they can protect your ears from these dangerous sound levels and reduce your risk of developing noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) later in life.

Types of hearing protection

When it comes to protecting your hearing, there are a variety of ear plugs available on the market, but what are they and what level of hearing protection do they provide?

ACS ear plugs.

Custom ear plugs: Custom-made ear plugs are the most effective option for hearing protection. These ear plugs are moulded to fit each person’s unique ear shape, creating a sound seal to prevent sound from leaking into the canal. They also include attenuating filters to reduce noise levels while still allowing you to communicate effectively. Custom ear plugs are recommended for individuals who are frequently exposed to loud noise levels, such as musicians, construction workers, and factory workers. We would recommend custom ear plugs to every patient, as ultimately these offer the best hearing protection on the market! 

Want to know more about custom ear plugs? Book a hearing protection appointment today!

Foam ear plugs: Foam ear plugs are an affordable and convenient option for hearing protection. They are designed to fit snugly in the ear canal and can be easily inserted and removed. However, they offer little protection in terms of attenuating decibels, making them best suited for low-noise environments or at night.

Off-the-shelf hearing protection: Many hearing protection manufacturers offer off-the-shelf options that come in a range of sizes and shapes. These products are designed to fit most people and typically include attenuating filters to reduce noise levels. They are ideal for environments with moderate to high noise levels.


How can The Hearing Care Partnership help?

At The Hearing Care Partnership, our audiologists are ready and waiting to help you find the most suitable hearing protection for your needs, whether that’s basic hearing protection to custom-fitted ear plugs or in-ear monitors.

So why wait? Get ready, set and go for the height of the sporting season with The Hearing Care Partnership!

To book a hearing protection appointment, call us on 0800 52 00 546 or click the button below.