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media release

sound level at global football competition


Staefa, Switzerland, July 7, 2014

Hear the World Foundation, a global initiative to raise awareness about hearing loss by leading hearing system manufacturer Sonova, is raising awareness about the importance of hearing health and simultaneously forecasting the result of the global football competition in Brazil.  

During the quarter finals July 4-5, Hear the World used a digital sound level meter, a device to ascertain the noise level of the fans from across the globe in a large public fan zone on iconic Vila Madalena in the center of Sao Paulo. Their theory? The team with the loudest supporters will also be the most successful at the tournament.


According to the fans cheers at the quarter finals, Brazil will be world champion: With a fierce roar of 116 decibels, Brazil football enthusiasts trumped all other fans’ cheers, making them the loudest devotees. The fans of the remaining teams also produced impressive results:

  • Brazil: 116 dB
  • France: 99 dB
  • Colombia: 97 dB
  • Argentina: 95 dB
  • Netherlands: 95 dB
  • Costa Rica: 93 dB
  • Belgium: 91 dB
  • Germany: 90 dB

“While we wouldn’t encourage you to place any bets based on these predictions alone, it is still fun to guess outcomes based on our sound measurements,” explained Sarah Kreienbuehl, responsible for Hear the World at Sonova. “Surely the fans cheers have a motivating impact on the players. Nevertheless, fans should undoubtedly enjoy the atmosphere and excitement that the game creates—but we encourage them to take their hearing health into consideration while doing so.”

How to Protect Your Hearing

Whether you’re rooting for your team in Brazil, or singing your praises from the couch, it is important to be aware of hearing health and take precautions to protect yourself, since noise exposure can put attendees at risk of permanent noise induced hearing loss.

  • An easy solution for sports fans is to use earplugs during the game.
  • It only takes 90 decibels (dB) to put hearing in jeopardy and when subjected to 100 dB or more, hearing damage can occur in just 15 minutes. (As reference, 90 dB is equal to a lawnmower; 127 dB is equal to a Vuvuzela* and inflatable fan-sticks measure at 99.1 dB*.) Once the damage is done, it is irreversible, so prevention is key.
  • Step away during half time to give your ears a break.
  • Prolonged exposure to loud noises can have a markedly negative impact on a person’s ability to hear.
  • Not at the game? Deliberately take acoustic breaks.
  • Switch off all sources of noise including the radio and TV.

Measurement Methodology and Results

Sonova Audiologist, Thiago Diniz, was onsite in Sao Paulo and used a digital sound level meter to record the sound during all four quarter final games. When the decibel level spiked above 90 dB, Diniz recorded the decibel level and for which team the cheers were intended and the length of time the dB level was sustained. At the end of each quarterfinal game, Diniz calculated the average decibel level of each team’s fan base by adding together the decibel levels of each spike and dividing it by the number of spikes. At the end of the quarter finals, Diniz compared the average decibel levels of the fans from each team and made predictions accordingly.