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Fans debate speaker volume in RC sections

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Bona’s games get loud — from the student section yelling, to the hype music to the announcing.
But to some, the noise level can be too much — specifically the noise from the PA system.
According to Carl Case, Ph.D., professor of management, the noise level at games can be tough on the ears of spectators.
Case noted that at one game last year, the noise level spiked during a particularly loud song — and left his wife with hearing damage.
“My wife has had a ringing in her ear ever since,” Case said.
He noted that in the reds — the higher-up seating — the PA system comes in louder because the loudspeakers are situated just above that section.
“The [sound system] is blasting right into the crowd,” he said.
He also commented that the loud speakers make it difficult to listen to and enjoy conversations.
“You cannot talk to people next to you,” he said. “The games are supposed to be a social event.”
Cortney Padlo, a junior marketing major and Olean native, said that she used to attend games with her father before she went to college and had season passes in the red section.
As for noise levels, she felt they were at a good pitch.
“Honestly, I thought the noise level wasn’t too loud and it wasn’t too quiet. You could hear everything. I actually thought it was a perfect level,” Padlo said.
In fact, she felt that the student section noise level is much higher than that of the reds.
“I think it’s a lot louder in the student section,” she said, noting that the ambient noise of yelling students, coupled with the PA system and officiating noises can be overwhelming.
However, to Padlo, the added noise in the blue section — the student section and lower public seating — can help one feel more included in the action of the game.
“Sometimes I wish that we had seats in the blue [when I was in high school], because it feels hard to get in with the crowd when you’re in the reds,” Padlo said.
Joe Ceraulo, a freshman journalism and mass communication major, has sat in the reds section before and said the area seems relatively quiet — except for the fans.
“[A friend of mine] was at the VCU game and sat in the reds. She mentioned that in addition to our student section, the fans up there were loud… too,” Ceraulo said.
Paula Scraba, Ph.D., professor of physical education, thinks the school should lower the volume of the PA system.
“To me, the university would be doing many, many people a service versus a disservice to just turn the speaker volume down to the OSHA recommendations,” Scraba said. “I was having a conversation with [athletics director Tim Kenney] and two patrons right under one of the speakers at a women’s game and commented, ‘How can people with season tickets sit through an entire game under this speaker?’ The response was, ‘Yes, I know, we’re working on this.’”
As for older crowd members, Scraba said she hears many comment they leave the games with headaches.
Case thinks that reducing the volume of the PA system so it would be more background noise than anything would be helpful in making fans more comfortable.
After all, he noted, “If I wanted to go to a rock concert, I’d go to a rock concert.”

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