Listen Up! Protect Your Hearing from Air Horns

Listen Up! Protect Your Hearing from Air Horns.

To protect your hearing, use ear protection at sporting events — and don’t use air horns.

Sports events like basketball or football games can be exciting, but they’re also noisy! And the air horns that blast when your team scores are especially
loud — loud enough to damage your hearing immediately.
Being around too much loud noise can make you lose your hearing. And once it’s gone, you can’t get it back.

Air horns are no joke!

Using an air horn to scare someone or get their attention isn’t a joke or a harmless prank. It could hurt their hearing forever. And you could hurt your own hearing too!


  • Loudness is measured in what’s called decibels (dB).
  • Over time, any sound that’s 85 decibels or higher can cause hearing loss — or other hearing problems, like tinnitus (a ringing sound in your ears that won’t go away).
  • An air horn is 129 decibels. That’s loud enough to cause immediate harm to your ears.
  • The louder a sound is, and the longer you listen to it, the more it can damage your hearing.

Here’s the good news:
You can protect your hearing from air horns — and still enjoy your favorite sporting events!

To protect your hearing:

  • Use hearing protection.
    If you’re at a game or another event where you might hear air horns, use earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones.
  • Stay away from loud noises.
    Move away from air horns or other loud noises if you can. If you can’t get away fast enough, you can also plug your ears with your fingers.
  • Don’t use air horns — and encourage your friends not to use them, either.
    You could hurt the hearing of everyone around you. It’s not worth it!

If you need to use air horns, do it outdoors and away from people — never in an enclosed space like a car. Always wear ear protection.

If you’re concerned about your hearing, talk to your doctor. To learn more about how loud noise can damage your hearing, visit

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Page last reviewed: May 29, 2018