World Cup Considers Noisemaker Ban

By Tim Persinko
|  Sunday, Jun 13, 2010  |  Updated 2:49 PM CDT
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That steady hum that you hear while watching World Cup matches this year is not something wrong with your television set.

It is the incessant sound of the vuvuzela, a South African horn that makes such a racket that players and broadcasters have petitioned the World Cup organizers to ban the instrument.

The vuvuzela is a long plastic trumpet that is the preferred noisemaker of South African soccer fans.

Critics claim that the instruments create such a cacophony that athletes cannot think straight and fans risk hearing loss.

"We can't sleep at night because of the vuvuzelas," French captain Patrice Evra complained to the AFP.  Evra said the French team's poor showing against Uruguay was due to the noisome instruments. 

"We can't hear one another out on the pitch because of them," he whined.

Acknowledging a steady drumbeat of complaints, World Cup Organizing Chief Danny Jordaan said to the BBC, "Its difficult, but we're trying to manage the situation as best we can."  When pressed, the soccer chief admitted an outright ban of the instrument before the end of the tournament was under consideration.

Jordaan said he preferred fans to sing rather than blow their horns.  Fans have already been asked to abstain from  vuvuzela playing during national anthems and official announcements.

The sound of the vuvuzela is louder than a chainsaw, according to a recent report released by hearing aid manufacturer Phonak.  The horn, which generates a 127 decibel blast, can cause permanent hearing loss after 15 minutes.  Phonak said the air horn, a racket maker much-loved by English soccer fans, creates almost as much noise, 123.6 decibels.

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