The vuvuzela claims its first victim

Ryan Bailey
June 17, 2010

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...

Image: Bild