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 simply enjoyed the music.
As you got older, you may have indulged in nights out at loud concerts or the movies. You may have even picked a career where loud noise is the norm. Lasting 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 lasting 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. Certain sounds can evidently cause you to get sick according to doctors and scientists. This is the reason why.
How Loud Sound Impacts Health
The inner ear can be harmed by extremely loud sounds. After sound goes through the membrane of the eardrum it’s picked up by tiny hairs in the ears. Once these little hairs are destroyed, 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 for an 8 hour period of time. If you’re subjected to over 100 dB, permanent impairment occurs within 15 minutes. A rock concert is about 120 decibels, which causes instant, permanent harm.
Noises can also impact cardiovascular health. Obesity, high blood pressure, clogged arteries, and other vascular issues can be the result of elevated stress hormones induced by overly loud noise. This could explain the memory and headache issues that people subjected to loud noise complain about. These are strongly linked to the health of your cardiovascular system.
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.
How Sound Frequency Impacts Health
A few years ago, diplomats in Cuba became sick when exposed to sounds. The sound in Cuba wasn’t that loud. They could block it out with a television. How might it have been able to make people ill?
The answer is frequency.
Even at lower volumes, appreciable damage can be done by some high-frequency sound.
Does the sound of nails on a chalkboard cause you to cringe? Have you ever pleaded with a co-worker to stop as they run their fingers over a folded piece of paper? Have you ever had to plug your ears during a violin recital?
If you’ve felt the force of high-frequency sounds, the pain you felt was in fact damage happening to your hearing. The damage may have become permanent if you’ve subjected yourself to this kind of sound repeatedly for longer time periods.
Research has also discovered that you don’t even have to be able to hear the sound. High-frequency sounds emanating from trains, sensors, machinery, and other man-made devices might be producing frequencies that do damage with prolonged exposure.
Very low-frequency sound known as “infrasound” can also impact your health. It can resonate the body in such a way that you feel nauseous and disoriented. Some even get flashes of color and light that are common in migraine sufferers.
Safeguarding Your Hearing
Recognize how specific sounds make you feel. Minimize your exposure if particular sounds make you feel pain or other symptoms. Pain is commonly a warning sign of damage.
In order to know how your hearing may be changing over time, contact a hearing specialist for an examination.