Archbishop Desmond Tutu may enjoy the piercing 140db drone of the vuvuzela, but World Cup 2010's leitmotif has officially become a health hazard.
Germany fan Sven Wipperfürth - the incredibly happy looking gentleman above - was lucky enough to be in the crowd for Die Mannschaft's tournament opener with Australia. When pacifier fan Lukas Podolski opened the scoring, a fan next to him started vuvuzela-ing like his life depended on it. "It was so loud that I winced," the 27-year-old told Germany's biggest newspaper, Bild. For the rest of the game, Wipperfürth had a ringing in his ears, which was so bad that he was forced to visit the doctor.
The diagnosis was tinnitus, the symptoms of which are hearing loss and a prolonged ringing sound in the ears. (Hilariously Bild have dubbed his condition 'Trötinus' - a combination of the words 'Tinnitus' and 'Tröte', the German word for a plastic horn. Boy howdy that's some good wordplay!) The doc ordered Wipperfürth to take five days off work sick, and he prescribed Tebonin, a course of tablets usually given to those with dementia for its ability to increase blood-flow to the brain.
Wipperfürth made his feelings clear by stating:
"These devil's trumpets must be banned!"
This attitude, of course, doesn't quite explain why he has decided to pose for a newspaper with a vuvuzela aimed directly at the side of his head.
In the compensation culture in which we live, it can only be a matter of time before other fans start trying to claim damages from FIFA for hearing loss sustained by vuvu exposure - and with the amount of fuss created by these simple plastic trumpets, it surely can't be long before someone develops tinnitus from listening to everyone complain about them...
- Lukas Podolski