When you were a kid you most likely had no clue that turning the volume up on your music could result in health issues. You simply enjoyed the music.
As you grew, you may have indulged in nights out at loud concerts or the movies. It may even be common for you to have experienced loud noise at work. Still, you didn’t think it had any long-term impact.
You more likely know differently now. Children as young as 12 can have permanent noise-induced hearing impairment. But did you realize that sound is so powerful that it can even be used as a weapon?
Can You Get Ill From Sound?
In fact, it Can. Certain sounds can evidently make you ill according to doctors and scientists. This is the reason why.
How Loud Sound Affects Health
The inner ear can be damaged by really 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 grow back. Many people, as they age, deal with sensorineural hearing loss caused by this.
Over 85 dB of volume for an 8 hour period of time will begin to cause lasting impairment. It only takes 15 minutes for long-term damage to set in at 100 dB. At 120 dB, the volume of a rock concert, instantaneous, permanent impairment will take place.
Noises can also affect cardiovascular wellness. Obesity, high blood pressure, clogged arteries, and other vascular concerns can be the consequence of increased stress hormones brought on by excessively loud noise. So when people who are exposed to loud noise complain about headaches and memory loss, this may explain why. Cardiovascular health is directly linked to these symptoms.
Sound as low as 45 decibels can, according to one study, begin to impact your hormones and your heart. 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 exposed 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 ill?
Frequency is the answer.
High frequency sounds like the one experienced in Cuba can do significant harm at lower volumes.
Does the sound of nails on a chalkboard cause you to cringe? Have you ever begged a co-worker to stop as they press their fingers over a folded piece of paper? Does the shrill sound of a violin put you on edge?
If you’ve felt the force of high-frequency 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 kind of sound repeatedly for longer time periods.
Research has also discovered that damage can be done even if you can’t hear the sound. High-pitched sounds coming from trains, sensors, machinery, and other man-made devices could be producing frequencies that do damage with sustained exposure.
Your health can also be affected by infrasound which is really low frequency sound. The vibrations can make you feel disoriented and physically ill. Some people even get migraine symptoms like flashes of light and color.
Safeguarding Your Hearing
Be mindful of how you feel about specific sounds. Reduce your exposure if specific sounds make you feel pain or other symptoms. If you’re feeling pain in your ears, you’re probably doing damage.
In order to know how your hearing might be changing over time, contact a hearing specialist for a hearing test.