OAKLAND (KCBS) – The Golden State Warriors have enjoyed one of the biggest home court advantages in the NBA in recent years, as Oracle Arena is often thought to have the loudest, most boisterous crowd in the league. But can all that noise impair your hearing?
Jeffrey Larsen, a Clinical Assistant Professor at Utah State University’s School of Communicative Disorders & Deaf Education, co-authored a study on the intensity of noise levels in college basketball arenas, and the impacts on hearing thresholds.
“There is a possibility of some damage. There’s no question the noise levels get to a point where it could take a half-hour to an hour to incur some damage, and most NBA games go longer than that,” Larsen told KCBS.
While it’s unknown how high the decibel levels get at “Roaracle,” Larsen said most college arenas can reach decibel levels over 100.
“At a college game for a relatively small school like Utah State, we reached levels of 108 dB, which if it was sustained, would only take you about a half-hour to incur some hearing loss,” he said. “There are breaks and those little breaks are important. It’s helpful to give your ears a break once in a while.”
There are preventative measures that fans can take, whether they’re at a sporting event or concert, including ear plugs.
“I think you can still hear what you want to hear, hear the roar of the crowd, and protect your ears at the same time. I think ear plugs are a great thing,” Larsen said. “Especially for those moments when it’s the end of the game, last couple possessions and everyone is going crazy. You would do your ears a real favor if you wore some ear plugs.”
Larsen said some people are more susceptible to hearing loss than others, so it’s a hard thing to predict how much the loud noise will affect each person. He said the average person is unlikely to be affected by the noise at an NBA game, but with it being the NBA Finals in Oracle Arena, he can see some people being affected by all the loud noise.