by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition
Sports Illustrated reported on Chicago Bears quarterback Tyson Bagent’s preparation for a game in the New Orleans Superdome, one of the three noisiest football stadiums in the National Football League. Bagent played college football at a very small school, and didn’t face a lot of stadium noise in the past.
Football stadiums are very noisy. The stadium noise record — a dubious distinction — of just over 142 A-weighted* decibels (dBA) exceeds the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s maximum occupational noise exposure limit of 140 dBA. Stadium noise, with the crowd yelling and amplified music turned up even louder, makes it difficult for visiting teams to hear the quarterback’s signals, and may contribute to home-field advantage in the NFL.
The team practiced with loud music but unfortunately for the Bears, the preparation didn’t help. Bagent had four turnovers and the New Orleans Saints pulled ahead with a final score of 24-17.
*A-weighting adjusts sound measurements for the frequencies heard in human speech.