When the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks do battle for the Stanley Cup, the buildings hosting the NHL championship series will be raucous. The decibel level at major sporting events routinely spikes above 100, beyond a safe level for human hearing. Wearing ear protection should be a must for spectator sports, especially those played in an atmosphere where you know it is going to be incredibly loud.
This year's NHL Finals, a matchup of two Original Six teams, takes place in two arenas known to be among the most boisterous in the league. While spectators will be watching the scoreboard, audiologists and hearing-health practitioners will also be keeping an eye on the decibel count. Lots of screaming and hooting will be expected as the series pits against each other some of the game's greatest players, including the Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, and the Bruins' Zdeno Chara and Milan Lucic.
Many events, including concerts and theatre productions, have gotten into the routine of handing out or offering earplugs for attendees. It would be terrific to see the NHL and other sports league's taking similar steps.
Even if you're watching the games at sports bars, carry ear protection to lessen the stress on your ears. More than 3 million Canadians have some form of hearing loss, and we are seeing Canadians at younger and younger ages being affected.