You should probably wear earplugs or cover your ears at home Vikings games


It's no secret Vikings games at the new stadium are going to be loud – the Metallica show last weekend and the soccer match between Chelsea FC and AC Milan showed as much.

KFAN reported the decibels at the stadium when Chelsea scored the first goal of the game reached more than 105 decibels of sound. That's about 10 times as loud as an average NFL game, which sees decibels in the 90s, Health Partners says.

Now think of a three-hour NFL game. They typically have more scoring opportunities than a soccer game, so it's likely U.S. Bank Stadium will reach at least 105 decibels several times throughout a game, the health group says.

Which is why they're hoping Vikings fans get themselves some earplugs.

The damage loud noise can do

Spending a long time in a place where sound is above 85 decibels can really hurt your ears, the Center for Hearing and Communication says. (Look at the chart at the right for comparisons.)

And as noise gets louder, the risk for permanent hearing loss increases. The National Institute of Health says when sound is at or above 100 decibels, people should limit their exposure to just 15 minutes.

And when sound reaches 110 decibels, people should find a quieter place after just one minute.

“Force from loud sound vibrations can damage tiny cells inside your ear,” David Geddes, AuD, supervisor of HealthPartners' Audiology said in the health group's blog post. “Damage to these hair cells cannot be reversed, so the key is to use hearing protection to prevent damage.”

Earplugs, ear muffs, or your hands

That's why you should wear earplugs or earmuffs, or cover your ears.

They reduce average sound levels by 15-35 decibels, Health Partners says. You can buy them at most pharmacies or stadiums, and you can also get them for free at the Minnesota State Fair (inside KARE 11's Health Fair 11 exhibit).

Health Partners says when you go to buy earplugs, look for a Noise Reduction Rating of at least 25. That means it reduces harmful noise by 25 decibels – you what you hear at U.S. Bank Stadium will be closer to 80 decibels instead of 105.

Health Partners and the National Institute of Health offer tips to avoid permanent hearing loss:

  • Detox. When you spend two hours in a place where noise is 100 decibels, it takes about 16 hours of quiet for your ears to recover.
  • Take breaks. When at sporting event or concert, get up once in awhile and take a walk through the concourse, grab a snack or go to the bathroom. Health Partners says a 5-10 minute break every quarter will give your ears a needed break.
  • Check your seats. The National Institute of Health says don't sit near the speakers during a concert. If that can't be avoided – grab your earplugs, or cover your ears with your hands.

Why is it so loud?

It's because of the roof.

U.S. Bank Stadium's roof is made out of ethylene-tetra-fluoro-ethylene or ETFE. The material is clear so it lets in natural light – but it also reflects more noise than other materials used in stadiums (including the incredibly loud Metrodome).

Health Partners says this could make U.S. Bank Stadium the "loudest stadium Minnesota has ever seen."

And a fun fact: The loudest crowd roar at a sports stadium was 142.2 decibels. It happened at Arrowhead Stadium during a Kansas City Chiefs game against the New England Patriots back in 2014, according to Guinness World Records.

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