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Oklahoma City was really loud last night

Apr 23, 2010, 6:43 PM EDT

It was never a secret that the Oklahoma City crowd was going to be a factor in whatever first-round series the Thunder ended up playing in. Oklahoma City has a loud, passionate fanbase, and it’s their team’s first ever NBA playoff appearance. Yet for all the predictions of how loud the building was going to be, actually hearing that crowd going crazy was something to behold.

Just how loud did the Ford Center get on Thursday night? According to Craig Sager’s decibel meter, the OKC crowd made as much as 109 decibels of noise during the game. Using that data, Daily Thunder’s J.G. Marking made an attempt to contextualize just how much noise Thunder fans made during game three. Here’s what he came up with: 
According to the NIOSH and the CDC, 2002, the permissible amount of time that an individual can be exposed to 109 Decibels without suffering significant, permanent hearing loss is 1.875 minutes, or 1 minute and 52 and a half seconds.
Now obviously (and thankfully for those of us wishing to maintain our hearing), that record breaking reading was not sustained and didn’t last for very long at its apex. But the sheer fact that the Thunderdome was able to reach that sheer volume of noise is nothing short of remarkable, if not a little awesomely scary, as the information below will show you.
Dangerous Decibel Levels:
80 Decibels – Garbage Disposal, Freight Train — Possible Hearing Damage
90 Decibels – Diesel Truck, Food Blender — Hearing Damage (8 hours)
100 Decibels – Jet Takeoff (at 305 meters), Lawn Mower, Motorcycle, Tractor, Jackhammer — Serious Hearing Damage (8 hours)
110 Decibels – Chain Saw, Steel Mill, Riveting, Auto Horn — Human Pain Threshold
Yes, you read that correctly. Human Pain Threshold = 110 Decibels for ANY length of exposure. And the Thunderdome was within 1 Decibel of that last night. No amplifiers, no intricate sound systems pumping supplemental rock music, just 18,342 screaming, crazy, electric fans. Which means that it is time to add this to the list of Dangerous Decibel Levels…
109 Decibels – The Thunderdome, OKC — Opponent Intimidation Threshold

That’s pretty loud. It’s hard to find concrete data on records for this sort of thing — I’ve seen rumors that Golden State’s Oracle arena got as high as 121 decibels in 2007, and that Sacramento’ ARCO arena holds the world record with a recording of 130 decibels, but I haven’t been able to find solid sourcing on either of those recordings. Whether or not Oklahoma City was louder last night than Golden State or Sacramento were in years past, the crazy OKC crowd definitely helped their team get its first playoff win on Thursday night. 

  1. Jay H. - Apr 23, 2010 at 9:44 PM

    I was fortunately enough to grow up in Sacramento & watch the Kings transform from a perennial doormat to being on the brink of reaching reaching greatness. And those playoff games at old Arco were in a whole different stratosphere! I remember NBC saying before game 1 of the 2002 Lakers series, that pregame noise reached as high as 118 dBs. But let’s be honest, once you hit around 105-110 dBs that’s pretty damn loud…good for OKC

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