The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia was held in stadiums seating up to 81,000 people. That’s equivalent to the population of a medium-sized town. When they all come together in one place to cheer on their national teams, it creates a unique soundscape. Nowadays, there are not only the thousands of voices, drums and horns of fans, but also clips and announcements on the huge stadium loudspeakers. Loud noises are also produced on the pitch. On the one hand, there are the distinctive shouts of players and coaches. Yet the loudest object in the stadium is in the hands of the referee. At 130 dB, his whistle is as loud as a jet plane taking off, making it unmistakable.


What does dB actually mean?

The energy form of sound pressure – perceived by us as loudness – is indicated in decibels (dB). It’s not a linear unit, as loudness encompasses a huge dynamic range. The most important rule of thumb is that a 10 dB increase in the sound level corresponds to a doubling of the perceived volume. 110 dB is twice as loud as 100 dB.
Cartoon infographic displaying noise levels of World Cup sounds, such as referee's whistle, vuvuzela, air horns, live music and cheering fans