Earlier this year, the Seattle Public Library (book)wormed its way into the Guinness Book of World Records when it set the standard for world’s longest domino chain made of falling books.
So exciting, the rest of town wanted in: Tonight, Seahawks fans plan to land a spot of their own by generating the loudest crowd roar at a sports stadium during their home opener against the NFC West rival 49ers.
The standing record is 131.76 decibels, set at a Turkish football soccer stadium back in 2011. And while Seattle’s Century Link Field has never before approached that level of noise, topping out around 20 decibels short, it’s easy to understand why organizers think they have a shot. After all, the Clink is the stadium one Harvard study identified as providing the best home-field advantage in football, and was famously the site of a minor earthquake during the 2010-11 playoffs, in which Marshawn Lynch says, “Get off me!” to Tracy Porter.
That said, I shouldn’t have to tell you why this is not the best idea. Instead, I’ll let audiologist Brian Fligor of Boston Children’s Hospital do it:
“Pack people in nice and tight, all screaming at about 115 decibels, and yeah, I could imagine peak sound might hit 132 decibels.”
At that level, people can suffer immediate and permanent hearing damage, Fligor warned.
Well, that’s the reason your mom could have told you — and, if she’s anything like mine, does every time you put on headphones — and it’s certainly not the reason I went out of my way to turn this into a blog post.
But there’s also a non-medical reason to leave the record alone: As things stand, the loudest noise officially recorded during a Seahawks game is 112 decibels. Superstition is a big part of sports, and the NFL is no exception. Sometimes it’s best to just leave well enough alone. One hundred and twelve decibels should be plenty for the Twelfth Man.