When you were 16 and turned the radio up to full volume, you weren’t thinking about how this might affect your health. You just enjoyed the music.
As you got older, you probably indulged in evenings out at loud movies and concerts. It may 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 are older and more mature, you more likely know better. Children as young as 12 can have permanent noise-induced hearing loss. But sound is so powerful it can actually be used as a weapon.
Can You Get Sick From Sound?
In fact, it Can. It’s apparent to scientists and doctors alike that certain sound can make you ill. Here’s the reason why.
How Loud Sound Affects Health
The inner ear can be injured by really loud sounds. You have tiny hairs that pick up +
vibrations after they pass through the eardrum membrane. Once these little hairs are destroyed, they don’t ever regenerate or heal. This is what causes the sensorineural hearing loss that many people deal with as they age.
Over 85 dB of volume for an 8 hour period will begin to cause long-term impairment. If you’re subjected to over 100 decibels, long-term damage happens within 15 minutes. At 120 dB, the volume of a rock concert, instantaneous, irreversible damage will take place.
Noises can also affect cardiovascular health. High blood pressure, clogged arteries, obesity, and other vascular issues can be the result of increased stress hormones induced by excessively loud noise. This may explain the headaches and memory issues that people exposed to loud noise complain about. These are strongly related to cardiovascular health.
Sound as low as 45 decibels can, according to one study, start to have an impact on your hormones and your heart. That’s around the volume of somebody with a quiet inside voice.
Your Health is Impacted by Some Sound Frequencies – Here’s How
Several years ago, diplomats in Cuba got sick when exposed to sounds. The sound in Cuba wasn’t very loud. They were able to block it out with a television. How might it have been able to make people ill?
Frequency is the answer.
High frequency sounds like the one experienced in Cuba can do significant damage at lower volumes.
Have you ever cringed when someone scraped their nails on a chalkboard? Have you ever begged a co-worker to stop as they press their fingers over a folded piece of paper? Have you ever needed to cover your ears during a violin recital?
Damage was being done to your hearing if you’ve ever experienced pain from high-frequency sound. If you experienced this for a time, regularly subjected yourself to it, or were exposed at a high volume, then the damage may have become permanent.
Research has also revealed that damage can happen even if you can’t hear the sound. High-frequency sounds coming from sensors, trains, machinery, and other man-made devices could be emitting frequencies that do damage with too much exposure.
Your health can also be impacted by infrasound which is really low frequency sound. It can vibrate the body in such a way that the person feels nauseated and dizzy. Some even experience flashes of light and color that are common in migraine sufferers.
How You Can Protect Your Hearing
Be aware of how you feel about certain sounds. If you’re feeling pain or other symptoms when you’re exposed to specific sounds, limit your exposure. Pain is commonly a warning sign of damage.
In order to know how your hearing could be changing over time, get in touch with a hearing specialist for an exam.