07 June 2010

Vuvuzela really a threat to hearing? One study, two results

I was browsing through some current 2010 World Cup news when I stumbled over the Reuters article "Vuvuzela tops noise league, seen threat to hearing". Well, another article about vuvuzelas, I thought. Than I had a look for the website of the "Hear the World Foundation" (an initiative formed by Swiss hearing products group Phonak to raise awareness about hearing loss. They made the study the Reuters article is about), and had a read through their news section. I found the original article about the tests they made to measure the "noise" of the vuvuzela and was quite surprised.
In the German/Swiss original article it says:
1. Platz: Alphorn Vuvuzela 127 dB
2. Platz: Fan-Horn 123.6 dB
3. Platz: Vuvuzela 123.4 dB
4. Platz: Trommel 122.2 dB
5. Platz: Fan-Gesänge von zwei Schweizer-Fans 121,6 dB
6. Platz: Schiedsrichter-Pfeife: 121.8 dB
7. Platz Gashupe 121.4 dB
8. Platz: Kuhglocke 114,9 dB
9. Platz: Holzratsche 108,2 dB
10. Platz: Aufblasbare Fan-Sticks 99.1 dB

and in the English version it says:
1st place: Vuvuzela 127 dB
2nd place: Air-horn 123.6 dB
3rd place: Samba drum 122.2 dB
4th place: Referee whistle 121.8 dB
5th place: 2 fans singing 121.6 dB
6th place: Gas horn 121.4 dB
7th place: Cowbell 114.9 dB
8th place: Wooden rattle 108.2 dB
9th place: Inflatable Fan-Sticks 99.1 dB

Two different types of vuvuzelas (127dB and 123.4dB) in the German article and only one type of vuvuzela (the "original" one) in the English article (measured with 127dB and not 123.4dB)? Why is that? Too lazy to explain what an "Alphorn vuvuzela" is? Propaganda against vuvuzelas? All international media are now reporting that vuvuzelas are 127 dB loud. I haven't found one article pointing out that the "Alphorn vuvuzela" is actually the louder one and not the "normal" South African vuvuzela. Come on media, explain it to me!
Well, the "Alphorn vuvuzela" is actually a Swiss invention. The Swiss vuvuzela does look like a vuvuzela shaped mini Alphorn (a traditional Swiss and Austrian music instrument, also known as alpine horn, usually between 2.5 - 4m long!) According to the study the sound of such an Alphorn vuvuzela is about 4dB lounder than a "normal" South African vuvuzela. Keeping in mind that a sound increased by ten decibels will be perceived by human ears as being twice as loud, it tells me that 4dB do make a huge difference. Anyway - the South African "soccer" vuvuzelas are part of football in Southern Africa and therefore they belong to every match like the flags, the fan jerseys etc.. Stop discussing about it and take it as a fact!

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