Football fans attending the World Cup risk permanent damage to their hearing from the vuvuzela horns which are the must-have accessory at the tournament in South Africa, a study said Monday.
The din emitting from the tuneless plastic horns is louder than that from a drum or a chainsaw, according to the survey by hearing aid manufacturer Phonak.
It said tests had shown the sound emitted by a vuvuzela was the equivalent to 127 decibels. The sound from a drum was put at 122 decibels while the sound from a referee's whistle registered 121.8 decibels.
"Extended exposure at just 85 decibels puts us at a risk of permanent noise-induced hearing loss," Phonak said in a statement on the SAPA news agency.
"When subjected to 100 decibels or more, hearing damage can occur in just 15 minutes."
While the horns have gone down a storm among South African supporters, players from rival teams have been less enthusiastic.
Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso has called for it to be banned as it impedes players' concentration but FIFA chief Sepp Blatter has defended it as a part of South African football culture.