Hearing management

Updated 06 December 2017

Hi-tech harnessed against vuvus

Soccer journalists may soon be using a hi-tech device to block out the drone of vuvuzelas at soccer stadiums.

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Soccer journalists may soon be using a hi-tech device to block out the drone of vuvuzelas at soccer stadiums.

A hearing-aid company is testing whether technology used by helicopter pilots could help soccer journalists focus on their work even in a stadium full of ear-shattering vuvuzelas.

Hearing-aid manufacturer Phonak said it had customised a state-of-the-art protection system to filter out the "endless drone" of the vuvuzela.

The system, which dampened sound electronically, was typically used by helicopter pilots, fire-fighters and industrial staff.

Several of the prototypes had been sent to South Africa to be tested by journalists.

The aim was to enable them to focus on their work, stay connected to the atmosphere in the stadium and talk freely to other people, while being protected from dangerously loud noise levels.

Risk of permanent hearing loss

Phonak said continuous exposure at just 85 decibels put people at risk of permanent hearing loss.

The combined noise of crowd and vuvuzelas at big games almost constantly exceeded 130 decibels.

Its system used digital filters to electronically dampen sound within the range emitted by the vuvuzela, the moment it occurred.

It would not alter other sounds - such as a colleague talking. "If this prototype proves successful, and vuvuzelas take off in stadiums around the world, mass production might be an option going forward," Phonak said. - (Sapa, June 2010)

 

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Hearing Expert

Dr Kara Hoffman graduated from UCT in 2004, thereafter she completed her year of community service in Durban. In 2010 she completed her Masters Degree in Paediatric Aural Rehabilitation from UKZN. In 2016, she became a Doctor of Audiology through the University of Arizona (ATSU). Dr Hoffman and her partner Lauren Thompson opened a fully diagnostic audiology practice called Thompson & Hoffman Audiology Inc. In 2011 with world-class technology and equipment to be able to offer the broad public all hearing-related services including hearing testing for adults and babies, vestibular (balance) assessments and rehabilitation, industrial audiology, hearing devices, central auditory processing assessments for school-aged children, school screening, neonatal hearing screening programmes at Alberlito and Parklands Hospital, cochlear implants and other implantable devices, medicolegal assessments and advanced electroacoustic assessments of hearing. Thompson and Hoffman Audiology Inc. are based at Alberlito Hospital in Ballito, St Augustines Hospital in Durban and at 345 Essenwood Road, Musgrave. The practices are all wheelchair friendly. There are three audiologists that practice from Thompson & Hoffman – including Dr Kara Hoffman, Lauren Thompson & Minette Lister. The practice boasts professional, highly qualified, and extensive diagnostic services where all your hearing healthcare needs can be met. The additional licensing in vestibular assessment and rehabilitation, paediatric rehabilitation and cochlear implantation places this practice in one of the top specialist audiological positions in South Africa, with a wealth of experience in all clinical areas of audiology and is a very well respected and sought-after practice.

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