When you were a teenager and turned the radio up to full volume, you had little thought about how this might harm your health. You just enjoyed the music.
As you got older, you probably indulged in nights out at loud concerts or the movies. It may even be normal for you to have experienced loud noise at work. Still, you didn’t think it had any long-term effects.
You probably know differently now. 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 Sound Make You Sick?
Actually, it Can. It’s apparent to scientists and doctors alike that specific sound can make you ill. This is why.
How Health is Affected by Loud Noise
The inner ear can be damaged by very loud sounds. After sound passes through the membrane of the eardrum it’s picked up by little hairs in the ears. Once these small hairs are destroyed, they don’t ever heal or regenerate. Many people, as they age, deal with sensorineural hearing loss caused by this.
Harmful volume begins at 85 decibels for an 8 hour time frame. It only takes 15 minutes for permanent impairment to develop at 100 dB. A loud concert is about 120 decibels, which brings about instant, irreversible harm.
Cardiovascular wellness can also be impacted by noise. High blood pressure, clogged arteries, obesity, and other vascular concerns can be the result of increased stress hormones brought on by excessively loud noise. This may explain the headaches and memory issues that people subjected to loud noise complain about. These are firmly related to cardiovascular health.
Sound as low as 45 decibels can, as reported by one study, start to have an impact on your hormones and your heart. A person speaking with a quiet inside voice is at this volume level.
How Sound Frequency Affects Health
Several years ago, diplomats in Cuba got sick when subjected to sounds. The sound in Cuba wasn’t very loud. It could even be blocked out by a television. How could it have made people sick?
Frequency is the answer.
Even at lower volumes, appreciable damage can be done by some high-frequency sound.
Have you ever cringed when somebody scraped their nails on a chalkboard? Have you been driven nuts by somebody repeatedly 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 power of high-pitched sounds, the pain you felt was actually damage happening to your hearing. The damage could have become permanent if you’ve subjected yourself to this sort of sound repeatedly for longer time periods.
Research has also discovered that you don’t even have to be able to hear the sound. Damaging frequencies can come from many common devices such as sensors, trains, machinery, etc.
Extremely low-frequency sound called “infrasound” can also impact your health. It can vibrate the body in such a way that the person feels nauseated and dizzy. Some individuals even experience migraine symptoms such as flashes of light and color.
Protecting Your Hearing
Be aware of how you feel about specific sounds. Reduce your exposure if certain sounds make you feel pain or other symptoms. Pain is often 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.