When you were younger you most likely had no idea that cranking the volume up on your music could lead to health concerns. You were simply having a good time listening to your tunes.
As you grew, you probably indulged in nights out at loud movies and concerts. You may have even chosen a job where loud noise is the norm. Still, you didn’t think it had any lasting effects.
You probably know differently today. Children as young as 12 can have lasting noise-induced hearing impairment. But sound is so powerful it can even be used as a weapon.
Can You Get Sick From Sound?
In a word, yes. It’s evident to scientists and doctors alike that certain sound can make you ill. This is why.
How Health is Impacted by Loud Noise
The inner ear can be damaged by very loud sounds. You have tiny hairs that detect +
vibrations after they pass through the eardrum membrane. These hairs never grow back once they are damaged. Many people, as they age, deal with sensorineural hearing loss caused by this.
Over 85 dB of volume for an 8 hour period of time will begin to cause long-term impairment. If you’re exposed to over 100 decibels, lasting impairment occurs within 15 minutes. At 120 dB, the volume of a rock concert, instant, permanent impairment will take place.
Cardiovascular health can also be affected by noise. Obesity, high blood pressure, clogged arteries, and other vascular problems can be the consequence of elevated stress hormones induced by overly loud noise. This might explain the headaches and memory problems that people exposed to loud noise complain about. Cardiovascular health is strongly linked to these symptoms.
Actually, one study revealed that sound volumes that start to impact the heart, and hormones are as low a 45 decibels. A person speaking with a quiet inside voice is at this volume level.
Your Health is Impacted by Some Sound Frequencies – Here’s How
Cuban diplomats became sick after being subjected to certain sounds several years ago. This sound was not at a very loud volume. They were able to block it out with a television. So how could this kind of sound make people sick?
The answer is frequency.
High frequency sounds like the one experienced in Cuba can do appreciable harm at lower volumes.
Does the sound of nails on a chalkboard cause you to cringe? Have you ever begged a co-worker to stop as they press their fingers 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 experienced pain from high-pitched sound. If you experienced this for a time, regularly exposed yourself to it, or were exposed at a high volume, then the damage may have become irreversible.
Research has also found that you don’t even need to be able to hear the sound. Harmful frequencies can come from many common devices like machinery, trains, sensors, etc.
Extremely low-frequency sound known as “infrasound” can also affect your health. The vibrations can make you feel disoriented and physically ill. Some individuals even get migraine symptoms such as flashes of color and light.
Protecting Your Hearing
Know how particular sounds make you feel. Limit your exposure if specific sounds make you feel pain or other symptoms. If you’re feeling pain in your ears, you’re most likely doing damage.
In order to understand how your hearing might be changing over time, contact a hearing specialist for a hearing test.