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The Hearing Impaired Guide to the World Cup

The 2018 FIFA World Cup is home to all sorts of extravagant sounds. As one of the most high-profile events of the year, it is bound to be enjoyed by millions all over the globe.

Those with hearing impairments don't need to feel left out either. Let us guide you through how to make the world cup, and other sporting events more accessible, as well as keep your ears safe at one of the world's most unmissable events.

Football's The Sound of the Summer

It will be tricky to escape any mention of football between June 14, and July 15, 2018. The 2018 world cup will be on the TVs, radios, and mobiles around the clock during the tournament, meaning its widely accessible. Being held in Russia also means coverage occurs at a number of prime times, allowing for maximum viewing time.

For most of us, it's easy-watching. Nail-biting it will be, full of worldly goals from some of the planets greatest and more notorious players. Oh, and the atmospheres - they will be wild, charming, bold, and above all, LOUD. From celebrations to chants, vocal chords will be stretched and boy will our eardrums become immersed in world cup culture. Sadly, this can all have negative implications to our hearing health and auditory senses.

Top Tips For Enjoying the World Cup with Hearing Loss

Just because you may suffer from a hearing impairment, it does not mean you cannot lose yourself in world cup fever.  There are a number of ways that the 2018 world cup and other sporting events offer hearing-friendly alternatives to include those mild to moderate impairments, as well as the deaf.

  1. Configure your hearing aids for the appropriate environments - Ensure you adjust your device accordingly. If you are lucky enough to be heading to Russia to see the games live, popping down to the pub, or watching at home, make sure you have the right settings and features turned on.
  2. Stock up on hearing aid batteries - The last thing you will want is your device running out of power mid-match, or even worse when you are out watching the games. Carry spare cells so you can continue to enjoy should you be caught short on power.
  3. Wireless TV listeners come in handy for the home - If you are staying put or will watch some of the fixtures at home, TV headphones can enhance the experience. You'll be able to finetune the volume for you, without adjusting it for everyone else so all parties can enjoy the television at the volume that suits them.
  4. Captions are forever your friend - Subtitles will be crucial for those with severe or profound hearing loss, as well as for the deaf. If you cannot always revel in the wild sounds of a sporting atmosphere, at least you can still enjoy the frantic commentary.
  5. Earplugs will prevent further damage - Hearing protection is a vital bit of kit, especially if attending football matches or down at a packed pub. Chants, celebrations, and long exposure to excessive noise can lead to sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus.

For the deaf, FIFA has made the move to make the games more accessible. They are producing match reports in International Sign Language which can be viewed after the match. You can view them here.

Harmful Noises Will Damage Your Hearing

It is a scientific fact. Exceptionally loud sounds are detrimental to our ears. Dangerously loud noises can cause lasting damage, and world cup atmospheres can be a key culprit.

Many of the stadiums cater to 35,000-plus fans with the largest catering for up 80,000. Now there's a potential for a lot of noise! Whether you attend a football match, enjoy matches at your pub, or even in the comfort of your own home, these hazardous noises are forever present.

How To Keep Your Ears Safe 

GOAL, GOAL, GOAL! A scream we will hear often. A lot of the noises will be unavoidable, but that's football. Those with normal hearing should still be wary...

As highlighted by the Telegraph, sounds from the stadium excessive and may result in the onset of noise-induced hearing loss.

  • Vuvuzela: 127dB
  • Air horn: 123dB
  • Drums: 122db
  • Referee's whistle: 121db
  • Chanting fans: 121db
  • Wooden rattle: 102db
  • Inflatable fan sticks: 99db

How can you avoid these harmful sounds? Ear plugs are your answer.

World Cup 2010: Vuvuzelas & Hearing Loss

The vuvuzela became a footballing fan must-have during the 2010 tournament. The vuvuzela was one of the instruments of choice at South Africa's competition but posed an immediate threat to the hearing of both fans and players.

The trumpet-esque noise cannon can emit sound up to 127db - that's enough to cause permanent hearing loss! Constant exposure to sounds above 85db is enough to cause lasting damage to our ears.

Subsequently, they are not allowed in the stadiums at the 2018 world cup.

Test Your Hearing

Should you be concerned about your auditory health, take our free online hearing test.

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Results will indicate if you should consider further action to help prevent hearing loss and seek out solutions to manage any impairments. An audiologist or health care professional will be able to perform further diagnostic tests to identify causes and offer extra guidance.

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