When you were a teenager and cranked up the radio to full volume, you weren’t thinking about how this could damage your health. You just enjoyed the music.
As you got older, you probably indulged in nights out at loud concerts or the movies. It might even be common for you to have experienced loud noise at work. Long term health problems were the furthest thing from your mind.
Now that you’re older and more mature, you probably know better. Children as young as 12 can have lasting noise-induced hearing loss. But sound is so powerful it can actually be used as a weapon.
Can You Get Ill From Sound?
In short, yes. It’s evident to scientists and doctors alike that specific sound can make you sick. Here’s the reason why.
How Loud Sound Affects Health
The inner ear can be damaged by very loud sounds. After sound goes through the membrane of the eardrum it’s picked up by tiny hairs in the ears. Once these tiny hairs are damaged, they don’t ever heal or grow back. Many people, as they age, deal with sensorineural hearing loss caused by this.
Damaging volume starts at 85 decibels over an 8 hour time period. It only takes 15 minutes for long-term impairment to develop at 100 dB. A rock concert is about 120 decibels, which causes instant, permanent damage.
Cardiovascular health can also be impacted by noise. Subjection to loud sounds can boost stress hormones, which can contribute to clogged arteries, obesity, high blood pressure, and more. So when individuals who are subjected to loud noise complain about headaches and memory loss, this may explain why. These are strongly linked to cardiovascular health.
Sound as low as 45 decibels can, according to one study, start to impact your hormones and your heart. A person talking with a quiet inside voice is at this volume level.
Your Health is Impacted by Some Sound Frequencies – Here’s How
A few years ago, diplomats in Cuba got sick when exposed to sounds. This sound wasn’t at a really loud volume. They were able to drown it out with a television. So how could this type of sound make people sick?
Frequency is the answer.
High frequency sounds such as the one experienced in Cuba can do appreciable damage at lower volumes.
Does the sound of nails on a chalkboard cause you to cringe? Have you been driven nuts by someone continuously dragging their finger over a folded piece of paper? Does the shrill sound of a violin put you on edge?
Damage was happening to your hearing if you’ve ever felt pain from high-pitched sound. If you endured this for an extended period of time, regularly exposed yourself to it, or were exposed at a high volume, then the damage might have become permanent.
Research has also found that you don’t even have to be able to hear the sound. High-frequency sounds emanating from sensors, trains, machinery, and other man-made devices may be producing frequencies that do damage with sustained exposure.
Extremely low-frequency sound called “infrasound” can also affect your health. It can resonate the body in such a way that the person feels nauseous and dizzy. Some even experience flashes of color and light that are typical in migraine sufferers.
Safeguarding Your Hearing
Be mindful of how you feel about certain sounds. Limit your exposure if certain sounds make you feel pain or other symptoms. If you’re experiencing pain in your ears, you’re probably doing damage.
In order to understand how your hearing might be changing over time, contact a hearing specialist for a hearing test.