Have you been watching any World Cup soccer games? If so, have you been wondering about that buzzing sound in the background? Well, wonder no longer… It’s a bunch of “vuvuzelas” being blown by the fans in attendance.
Never heard of a vuvuzela (a.k.a. lepatata)? Neither had I until I started digging around after being forced to listen to their incessant buzzing all afternoon. As it turns out, a vuvuzela is a stadium horn that is extremely popular with South African soccer fans.
Vuvuzelas are very loud — around 130 dB at the mouth of the horn — and sound like a swarm of angry bees when a bunch are being blown at once. They’ve also been associated with permanent hearing loss, and they’re incredibly annoying.
Originally made of tin, vuvuzelas are now made of plastic due to stadium safety concerns. In fact, FIFA considered banning even the plastic version for the 2010 World Cup due to fears that hooligans would use them as weapons.
A similar instrument, known as a “corneta,” is used by South American soccer fans.