Noise Levels at FIRST Competitions

My team (2129) recently competed at the Northern Lights Regional in Duluth. While I really enjoyed the event my main complaint was that the noise levels in the stands were completely unacceptable. This is not a new issue as I have experienced this at EVERY regional that I have attended as well as Champs over the past year. If my watch is yelling at me for 4 hours that the noise levels are dangerously loud then something needs to be done. I know many others have complained about this topic before so I am wondering what teams have done to help with this. Also, does anyone know if there is a way to complain to anyone about this? we were thinking either going up to the question box or possibly other places and asking for them to turn the volume down. Anything is helpful!


I was measuring 90 dB as a fairly consistent baseline at the scoring table for my event this weekend. I agree that something needs to be done, however, it’s difficult to manage that when the crowd noise level changes dramatically as the event goes on.


Do the same thing you do if you go to races, monster truck events, etc…bring foamy ear plugs if you so desire.


During Champs in 2022 it was hard for my teammates and myself to deal with the noise and the lighting. This is a huge issue that should be addressed, just because FRC has young students who have ears to spare doesn’t mean all of them will approve of the noise or be comfortable with it, it can get some anxiety flowing. Mentors would also appreciate if they brought the volume down. FRC competitions aren’t a rave, despite the excitement they bring, its responsible to have the volume at a reasonable level.


If the noise was inherently part of the event I think this would be an acceptable solution. But ridiculously loud music is not required to have a good FIRST robotics competition. Hearing protection might have to be the answer in the meantime, but I agree, some events are just unnecessarily loud.


For clarification, the noise is from music/arena noises or the crowds?


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while the crowds were definitely loud it was the music/videos that were the biggest problem for me. there are some teams that were a little annoying but that was expected and they were just showing their spirit so I don’t care that much. my thing is that it is a very easily fixable issue that is legitimately dangerous if not taken care of.


Yeah, it was too loud for me too at week 1. I wore ear plugs with plastic tunnels so some sound gets through but there is a reasonable amount of attenuation. It’s hard to hear my students in the pit though so then they come off.

I’m just too old.


At Beach Blitz this past November, the loudest part of the event was the people in the stands. Many teams were literally shrieking every time their robot did, well, anything.

Most of the events I’ve been to in the past have had decent music volume, but sometimes the MC/GA mics are way too hot.

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Good work at Northern Lights and congrats on the awards! My team was also there, and as a scouting mentor, I am also very upset over the noise. The robots were fine, the game sounds were fine, the crowd was fine, but the music was just absurdly loud. On Thursday, myself and some of the other mentors and students were commenting on how nice it was that we could hear each other this year, only for them to turn the music way up on Friday, more on Saturday, and what felt like even more Saturday afternoon. By the time they were playing the cha cha slide during elims, I couldn’t take my earplugs out without physicslly hurting my head. Yes, I wore earplugs. Yes, they helped a lot. Yes, I recommend them for everybody. But, having to yell at the person sitting next to you in order to have a conversation about anything is not condusive to scouting or anything else.

This discussion has been going on for years, and an organization that says they care so much about safety just seems to turn a blind eye to ear safety. It’s ridiculous and time for this to change.


FIRST does not really care about safety. Change my mind.


I’m sure they care a whole lot about safety! (Fine print: to the c-y-a extent that protects them from lawsuits.) And they do put on a fantastic spectacle of safety theatre for everything beyond that, tbf.


Anyway, here’s to hoping HQ decides to fix this >decade-old problem!





My wife’s watch was also alerting her (she was in the first row – no way would her fear of heights let her go up those stairs!). It didn’t seem as loud to me, but I was in the uppermost row of seats (where instead it was pretty uncomfortably warm).


At world’s in Detroit in 2019 we brought out our decibel meter and took readings at several places around the main field arenas. It was over 105dba in some places. There was one specific announcer (not an MC but a regular speaker on the PA) who was yelling into the microphones. It was really bad and teams were lodging complaints with pit admin.

We were in Daly but you could hear our MC 3 divisions over clearly and distinctly. I’m sure the other divisions were bothered by it and complained too. Idk how complicated turning down a volume dial is but with as many engineers as we had there I’m sure we could’ve figured it out.


I was there too and I remember hearing a division 2 fields away being almost louder than the one I was at :exploding_head:



From the District Qualifying Event Script:



From what I remember, I always thought worlds (minus Einstein) and regionals were quiet in comparison to District events and States here in FiM. Is it just me?

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Bro I thought I was the only one who had complaints about the noise (Specifically the music). During the alliance captain meetings last year I literally had to walk right up to the head refs face to hear him or else he would be drowned out by the sound of taylor swifts voice playing at maximum volume for more efficient hearing loss

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