When you were a teenager and turned up the radio to full volume, you had little thought about how this could damage your health. You were simply having a good time listening to your tunes.
As you grew, you may have indulged in nights out at loud concerts or the movies. It might even be normal for you to have experienced loud noise at work. Still, you didn’t think it had any long-term effects.
You more likely know differently today. Noise-induced hearing impairment can appear in children as young as 12. But sound is so powerful it can even be used as a weapon.
Can You Get Ill From Sound?
In a word, yes. Certain sounds can evidently make you sick according to doctors and scientists. This is why.
How Loud Sound Impacts Health
The inner ear can be injured by very loud sounds. After sound goes through the membrane of the eardrum it’s picked up by tiny hairs in the ears. Once these small hairs are damaged, they don’t ever grow back or heal. Many people, as they age, deal with sensorineural hearing loss caused by this.
Dangerous volume begins at 85 decibels for an 8 hour time frame. If you’re subjected to over 100 decibels, permanent impairment occurs within 15 minutes. A loud concert is around 120 decibels, which causes immediate, permanent harm.
Cardiovascular health can also be affected by noise. High blood pressure, clogged arteries, obesity, and other vascular issues can be the outcome of increased stress hormones brought on by excessively loud noise. This could explain the memory and headache problems that people subjected to loud noise complain about. These are directly linked to cardiovascular health.
Actually, one study showed that sound volumes that start to affect the heart, and hormones are as low a 45 decibels. A person speaking with a quiet inside voice is at this volume level.
How Sound Frequency Affects Health
A few years ago, diplomats in Cuba became sick when subjected to sounds. The sound in Cuba wasn’t that loud. They could drown it out with a television. How might it have been able to make people sick?
Frequency is the answer.
Even at lower volumes, considerable harm can be done by some high-frequency sound.
Have you ever cringed when someone scraped their nails on a chalkboard? Have you ever pleaded with a co-worker to stop as they run their fingers across a folded piece of paper? Have you ever had to plug your ears during a violin recital?
Damage was being done to your hearing if you’ve ever felt pain from high-pitched sound. If you endured this for a time, frequently subjected yourself to it, or were exposed at a high volume, then the damage might have become permanent.
Research has also found that you don’t even need to be able to hear the sound. Damaging frequencies can come from lots of common devices such as machinery, trains, sensors, etc.
Your health can also be impacted by infrasound which is extremely low frequency sound. It can resonate the body in such a way that the person feels nauseous and dizzy. Some even experience flashes of color and light that are common in migraine sufferers.
How You Can Safeguard Your Hearing
Be aware of how you feel about specific sounds. Minimize your exposure if particular sounds make you feel pain or other symptoms. Pain is commonly a warning sign of damage.
Get your hearing tested regularly by a hearing specialist to find out how your hearing might be changing over time.