When you were a teenager and cranked the radio up to full volume, you had little thought about how this could affect your health. You were simply having fun listening to your tunes.
You had fun when you were growing up, going to loud concerts and movies. It might even be normal for you to have experienced loud noise at work. Still, you didn’t think it had any lasting effects.
Now that you are older and more mature, you more likely know better. Children as young as 12 can have permanent noise-induced hearing impairment. But sound is so powerful it can actually be used as a weapon.
Can You Get Ill From Sound?
In a word, yes. It’s apparent to doctors and scientists alike that certain sound can make you sick. Here’s the reason why.
How Health is Affected by Loud Noise
Really loud sounds harm the inner ear. You have tiny hairs that detect +
vibrations after they go through the membrane of the eardrum. Once these little hairs are destroyed, they don’t ever grow back or heal. Many people, as they age, deal with sensorineural hearing loss caused by this.
Over 85 dB of volume for an 8 hour period will start to cause lasting damage. If you’re subjected to over 100 decibels, long-term impairment happens within 15 minutes. At 120 dB, the volume of a rock concert, instant, long-term impairment will occur.
Noises can also impact cardiovascular health. Obesity, high blood pressure, clogged arteries, and other vascular problems can be the result of elevated stress hormones brought on by excessively loud noise. So when people who are subjected to loud noise complain about headaches and memory loss, this could explain why. These are directly connected to the health of your cardiovascular system.
As a matter of fact, one study showed that sound volumes that begin to affect the heart, and hormones are as low a 45 decibels. That’s roughly the volume of somebody with a quiet indoor voice.
How Sound Frequency Affects Health
Several years ago, diplomats in Cuba got sick when exposed to sounds. This sound wasn’t at a very high volume. They could block it out with a television. So how could this type of sound make people sick?
The answer is frequency.
High frequency sounds like the one experienced in Cuba can do considerable harm at lower volumes.
Does the sound of nails on a chalkboard make you cringe? Have you been driven nuts by somebody continuously dragging their finger across a folded piece of paper? Does the shrill sound of a violin put you on edge?
If you’ve felt the energy of high-frequency sounds, the pain you felt was actually damage happening to your hearing. If you experienced this for an extended period of time, regularly exposed yourself to it, or were exposed at a high volume, then the damage may have become irreversible.
Research has also discovered that you don’t even have to be able to hear the sound. Harmful frequencies can come from lots of common devices like sensors, trains, machinery, etc.
Very low-frequency sound called “infrasound” can also impact your health. The vibrations can make you feel disoriented and physically ill. Some even get flashes of light and color that are typical in migraine sufferers.
Protecting Your Hearing
Recognize how specific sounds make you feel. Reduce your exposure if particular sounds make you feel pain or other symptoms. Pain is often a warning sign of damage.
In order to understand how your hearing might be changing over time, get in touch with a hearing specialist for a hearing test.