June 16th, 2010
01:10 PM ET

Vuvuzelas deafen and swell lips

By Madison Park
CNNhealth writer/producer

Cape Town, South Africa  (CNN) -  Lips don't lie.

If you're looking for the culprits who've killed your hearing at the World Cup, just look for swollen lips.

The incessant buzz of vuvuzelas  is inescapable. Vuvuzelas - the plastic horns seen throughout South Africa's packed stadiums -  sound like trumpeting elephants or even extended flatulence.

As World Cup events proceed, people pick up vuvuzelas and let out a long wail for no reason at all, and resume their day while in bars, stores and the streets.

Besides complaints from soccer players about the noise, the controversial plastic trumpets cause some health problems. There are the obvious hearing problems after sitting in a cramped stadium clustered with 60,000 fans, each armed with a high-decibel emitting vuvuzela.  Earplugs are in high-demand at drug stores, most have sold out.

They can also spread germs. A London study found that droplets spray from the end of the vuvuzela and warned fans not to use them if they are sick.

Dr. Ruth McNerney from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine warned that if someone with a chest or throat infection uses the vuvuzela in a crowded place, he could spread their infection to lots of people.

CNN's debate on vuvuzelas:
They are unwanted wailers – ditch the vuvuzelas!

How I learned to love the vuvuzela

Then there is "vuvuzela lips" where frequent users' lips have swelled twice in size - almost as if they've suffered bee stings.

"Sometimes when I blow for a long time, it can be swollen," said Romeo Martin, a Cape Town resident who admits to blowing his red plastic vuvuzela more than 100 times a day.

So why does he do it?

Martin shrugged. "Just for the World Cup," he replied. "When Bafana Bafana (the South African national team) is playing, everyone blows vuvuzelas."

It prompted one Facebook user to comment, "Who needs collagen ... get yourself a vuvuzela," according to The Cape Argus, a local Cape Town paper. It also dispensed advice on preventing vuvuzela lips: baby oil or Vaseline, and a cold drink after all the blowing to reduce the swelling.

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soundoff (128 Responses)
  1. bonbon

    i couldn't watch the games because of those annoying things! I tried but it began to grate on my nerves to the point of nausea!! i turned the volume down for a while but couldn't get all i could from the game then turned it up only to hear the continued buzz of those annoying things!! they are as bad as canned horns but at least they run out of gas after a couple of minutes!! seriously, i don't care if they are "traditional" or what, they are friggin annoying!

    June 18, 2010 at 09:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. cc

    I'd rather hear those things than the idiotic electronic organ that is used at hockey, baseball, basketball.....etc....games. Thank God that thing hasn't found its way in to REAL fOOtball games.....

    June 18, 2010 at 10:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. mark in ark

    At least if they're blowing horns, they're not starting riots in the stands like most soccer games. My vote is leave the fans alone, find something else to pick on. If you don't like the noise, turn down the volume on your TV, change the channel, or better yet... turn it OFF and go outside and enjoy the day.

    June 18, 2010 at 10:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. vuvuzela

    new word in the dictionary vuvuzela- instrument used for driving away big games animals by the Masai tribes, drives people in frenzy at soccer games.

    June 18, 2010 at 10:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Steel

    Not only look like a A$$ but sound like one too???? Bring one of those too a American Football game and someone will shove it right were that sound usually comes from and I am sure you won't enjoy it!!!!!

    June 18, 2010 at 10:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Lea

    I think vuvzeelas are a nice addition to the sport world and I suggest that from now on they should be used at ALL sports events: World Championship chess, Wimbledon, wrestling, horse racing, athletics and ice speed skating.... On your marks... ready? Pwaaaaaaat!!!!!

    June 18, 2010 at 10:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. yasmin tzul

    I am so sick of people always with complaints, I just have one thing to say ( to write) GO USA, GO USA, GO USA or I will cryyyyyy

    June 18, 2010 at 10:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. tc

    "Sometimes when I blow for a long time, it can be swollen," – hahahaha...that's what she said.

    June 18, 2010 at 10:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Yeah

    "Huh?", you are an uneducated, incoherent moron.

    June 18, 2010 at 10:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Michael

    I agree with GOL 100%, the vuvuzelas are ok if S. Africa plays, but I also miss the chants from the fans supporting their teams. All you hear is the dam buzz all through out the game.

    June 18, 2010 at 10:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Joe Rock

    What is a vulvazela ?

    June 18, 2010 at 10:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. A

    As a trumpet player, this is a fallacy: "A London study found that droplets spray from the end of the vuvuzela and warned fans not to use them if they are sick."

    It's called condensation, water, H2O.

    June 18, 2010 at 10:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • GD

      "It's called condensation, water, H2O."

      Yeah...in a TRUMPET. Vuvuzelas are NOT trumpets, but simple plastic tubes that people blow (and spit) through.

      By the way, you might want to get your water checked. 😉

      July 10, 2010 at 13:23 | Report abuse |
  13. gagagirl

    It's all annoying...soccer, adult toys, people, bad media coverage. Let's solve world hunger and forget the games of grown boys....

    June 18, 2010 at 10:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. GD

    "mindless droning"...a South African tradition...hmmm.

    July 10, 2010 at 13:20 | Report abuse | Reply
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