September 1, 2015
Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet
For immediate release
The Buffalo Bills of the National Football League have won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet for attempting to break the world record for noise at a sports stadium. The Bills are contributing to a dangerous trend: the idolatry of noise.
On September 20, 2015, the Buffalo Bills played the New England Patriots at Ralph Wilson stadium. Fans were attempting to break the noise record set by Kansas city Chiefs fans on October 13, 2013, where decibel levels reached a defeaning 142.2 decibels. The official Chiefs Twitter account boasted, “RECORD BROKEN!”
The Buffalo Bills noisefest was the brainchild of Bills fan Brandon “Grippy” Campbell, a 28 year-old car salesman from Tonawanda, New York. Campbell needed to raise the $8,000 required by the Guinness Book of World Records to send an adjudicator and a sound engineer to the game. In three days, Campbell raised $9,195.
Creating an extreme noise atmosphere had the support of Bills coach Rex Ryan, “Oh, I like the sound of that,” Ryan smiled. “That sounds good to me.”
The Buffalo News, joining in the fun, enlisted the advice of an Army drill sergeant, a high school basketball coach, an acoustic architect, and an opera singer on how fans could make the most noise possible. Sgt. First Class Marc Schott advised, “Try to be louder than the guy standing right next to you. If you can hear them over your own voice, you need to be louder.”
What these individuals seem not to realize is that excessive noise is physically dangerous. For most people, exposure to noise above 125 decibels causes physical pain. Even worse, exposure to noise above 140 decibels causes permanent hearing loss.
Experts in audiology are issuing warnings about prolonged exposure to extremely noisy environments. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends limiting exposure to noise of 90 decibels and above to no more than one hour. NIOSH notes that “each year, approximately 30 million people in the United States are occupationally exposed to hazardous noise.”
Bob Andres, a noise control engineer in western New York (and Noise Free America’s technical adviser) states that “exposure to noise levels above 115dBA can cause permanent hearing loss. Exposure to noise above 140dBA will cause hearing loss in a large percentage of individuals. Buffalo Bills fans created an extremely hazardous condition for everyone in attendance. The Bills franchise should be charged with criminal negligence for promoting this effort.”
Ted Rueter, director of Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet, stated that “the NFL should not be promoting noise. Excessive noise causes headaches, fatigue, heart problems, and hearing loss. Many professional and college sports teams promote the idea that extreme noise is ‘fun.” The truth is: extreme noise is very dangerous.”
Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet is a national citizens’ organization opposed to noise pollution. Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include the National Football League, the Atlanta Falcons, and the Florida Marlins.