Noise exposure, characterization, and comparison of three football stadiums

J Occup Environ Hyg. 2010 Nov;7(11):616-21. doi: 10.1080/15459624.2010.510107.


Personal noise exposure samples were collected from five workers at a large-sized college football stadium and five workers at a medium-sized college football stadium in northern Colorado during three home football games, for a total of 30 personal noise exposures. In addition, personal noise exposure samples were collected from five fans at a National Football League (NFL) stadium, and from two fans at each of the college stadiums during three home football games, for a total of 27 personal noise exposure samples. None of the workers' noise doses were above the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) permissible exposure limit of 90 dBA. However, 11 of 28 (39%) workers' noise doses exceeded the OSHA action level of 85 dBA that would require enrollment in a hearing conservation program. Following ACGIH® recommendations for noise exposure limits, 27 of 28 (96%) workers would be considered overexposed. In addition, 24 of 25 fans (96%) were also overexposed according to ACGIH and World Health Organization recommendations. At the 95% confidence level, workers' and fans' noise exposures were not significantly different between the three stadiums. However, there was significant noise level variability between the games in each individual stadium (e.g., 82 dbA vs. 87 dbA mean worker OSHA noise exposure for two games at the large-sized college stadium, p=0.001). Given the personal sampling results for the stadium workers, the investigators believe that stadium management at these two universities should implement a hearing conservation program and provide hearing protection. Management should include a warning of possible loud-noise exposure during any sporting events held at the stadiums in fan guides, pamphlets, websites, or other appropriate communication tools. This information should include the health effects of loud noise exposure, namely, noise-induced hearing loss, the information should also be specifically targeted to parents of young children, including a strong recommendation that hearing protection be worn by all children during the sporting event.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Football
  • Humans
  • Noise*
  • Noise, Occupational / statistics & numerical data
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis*
  • Sports*