With the noise from an average referee’s whistle reaching over 120 decibels, Britain’s top referees at the Professional Game Match Officials Limited have launched an enquiry into whether officiating at matches could be making them deaf.
Concerns have been raised after a study in the US found that a single blast was equivalent to listening to a chainsaw at close range or standing 50ft away from a military jet aircraft at take-off.
Tests were carried out both outdoors and indoors, where the sound can be amplified by reverberations.
Brian Warburg, Specsavers Preston audiologist, said: ‘Continuous exposure to excessively loud sounds, such as whistles used in sports matches, can cause hearing loss.
‘If you are concerned about your hearing we would encourage you to visit your audiology professional so that the health of your ears and hearing can be checked. Everyone over the age of 55 should have a routine hearing check every two years.’