Just how loud is a vuvuzela? Part 1

Every since the Vuvuzela made itself heard at the World Cup in South Africa, there has been a wealth of information about how they could be damaging to hearing and how they compare to noises from aircraft taking off and so on.

To see just how loud a Vuvuzela can be, we made some measurements with a small 35cm horn. The longer 65cm Vuvuzelas seem to be a bit difficult to get hold off right now but there’s one speeding it’s way through the postal system. As soon as this arrives we’ll make some more measurements with the larger horn and do some more comparisons.

So, to start with we are going to use the shorter 35cm horn. To make these measurements we used a Cirrus CR:161C Class 1 optimus red sound level meter which was calibrated before and after each measurement.

So that we can compare the Vuvuzela with some recent measurements that were made at the British Town Crier Championships, the noise levels were measured at 2m from the end of the horn.

We also made measurements at 20cm so that we could see what this would mean if someone was blowing a Vuvuzela behind you at a football match!

Here are the initial results:

Vuvuzela @ 2m

Duration: 4 seconds
LAeq: 101.6dB
LCPeak: 121.8dB
LAFmax: 107.2
LASmax: 105.dB
LAE (SEL): 107.6dB
Highest 1:1 Octave Band: 2kHz @ 103.3dB
LEP,d: 63.0dB

Vuvuzela @ 20cm

Duration: 3 seconds
LAeq: 106.9dB
LCPeak: 126.2dB
LAFmax: 113.6dB
LASmax: 110.9dB
LAE (SEL): 111.7dB
Highest 1:1 Octave Band: 2kHz @ 109.8dB
LEP,d:  67.1dB

To give you an idea how loud this is, the 20cm test has an LAeq of 106.9dB over the 3 seconds of the measurement. It would only take 3 minutes and 1 second of this level of noise for the Upper Action level of the Noise at Work Regulations to be met (LEP,d of 85dBA).

Even at 2m, it would only take 10 minutes and 30 seconds before the LEP,d of 85dB(A) was reached. And this is only from one small 35cm horn!

When the 65cm version arrives next week, we’ll make some more measurements and put these up for comparison.


Clarke Roberts

Senior Marketing Executive at Cirrus Research plc

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