Forget Shakira’s World Cup anthem, Waka Waka, the soundtrack to the World Cup in South Africa comes from the vuvuzela.
Tournament organisers have spoke of the possibility of banning the plastic trumpets from inside stadiums after numerous complaints from broadcasters, players and fans. The noise has been likened to a herd of stampeding elephants or the drone of a thousand bees
The bruised-eared broadcasters and prima donna players who thought their complaints about vuvuzelas might see the fan favourites banned can forget it.
The droning horns which give this World Cup a unique sound are going nowhere. Indeed, the mischievious delight fans take in puncturing elitist bubbles in the game may even prompt more and more spectators to ramp up the vuvuzela decibels at the 2010 World Cup.
The louder the complaints, the louder the vuvuzela chorus in response.
According to a survey conducted by Phonack, a hearing aid manufacture, vuvuzelas can be deafening. Reports show that the vuvuzela emits 127 decibels, greater than a whistle with 121.8 decibels and a drum having only 122 decibels.
Earplugs or earmuffs are encouraged for protection since with just 85 decibels range, the instrument can cause permanent hearing loss. Hearng impairment can happen at 100 decibels in 15 minutes.
FIFA won’t ban vuvuzelas
World Cup organizers have refused to ban the noisy plastic trumpets from matches despite mounting pressure from players, broadcasters and even some fans.
The instruments’ constant hum has so far served as an unofficial soundtrack for the tournament – and become the focus of international frustration.
Broadcasters complain the buzz, often compared to the drone of locusts, drowns out commentary.
Meanwhile, many players have said the sound affects their performance when they need to be at the top of their game.
Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo told the BBC the trumpets make it hard to concentrate on the pitch, while France captain Patrice Evra blamed the noise for his team’s poor performance against Uruguay.
Calls to bar the noisemakers from stadiums began before the World Cup even started, and FIFA had mulled that option, reports CTV’s Lisa LaFlamme from Capetown.
But the soccer organization now says it has ruled out a full-out vuvuzela ban, she said.
“They will ban it during the national anthem, they’ve banned it in shopping malls and other places but they will not ban it because it is such a part of the sporting tradition here,” LaFlamme said.
The vuvuzela, named after the Zulu word for “noise,” is considered a symbol of South African heritage, its sound a show of support for the country’s team, Bafana Bafana.
Though maddening at times, the ever-present hum “is exciting, it does make you feel a part of it, and it is part of the history here,” LaFlamme added.
While many home viewers have resorted to watching with the sound off, those in South Africa have come up with more creative solutions, such as the “plug-o-zela,” ear plugs specifically marketed to blocking the horns’ din.
Sources: CTV, Sify Sports, AFP, Soccer World.