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
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 postmatch 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.