When you were a kid you most likely had no clue that cranking the volume up on your music could result in health issues. You just enjoyed the music.
As you grew, you may have indulged in nights out at loud concerts or the movies. You could have even picked a career where loud noise is the norm. Long term health issues were the furthest thing from your mind.
Now that you are older and more mature, you probably know better. Noise-induced hearing impairment can show up 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 short, yes. Particular sounds can evidently make you sick according to scientists and doctors. Here’s why.
How Loud Sound Impacts Health
The inner ear can be damaged by very loud sounds. You have little hairs that pick up +
vibrations after they go through the membrane of the eardrum. These hairs never grow back once they are destroyed. 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 damage. If you’re exposed to over 100 decibels, lasting impairment occurs within 15 minutes. At 120 dB, the volume of a rock concert, instant, permanent impairment will take place.
Noises can also affect cardiovascular health. Obesity, high blood pressure, clogged arteries, and other vascular issues can be the outcome of elevated stress hormones induced by overly loud noise. So when people who are exposed to loud noise complain about headaches and memory loss, this could explain why. Cardiovascular health is strongly connected to these symptoms.
Sound as low as 45 decibels can, based on one study, start to impact your hormones and your heart. That’s around the volume of a person with a quiet indoor voice.
How Sound Frequency Affects Health
Several years ago, diplomats in Cuba got sick when subjected to sounds. This sound wasn’t at a very high volume. It could even be drowned out by a television. So how could this kind of sound cause people to get sick?
The answer is frequency.
High frequency sounds such as the one experienced in Cuba can do appreciable harm at lower volumes.
Does the sound of nails on a chalkboard make you cringe? Have you been driven crazy by somebody continuously dragging their finger 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 irreversible if you’ve exposed yourself to this sort of sound repeatedly for longer time periods.
Studies have also found that you don’t even need to be able to hear the sound. Harmful frequencies can come from many common devices such as sensors, trains, machinery, etc.
Extremely low-frequency sound called “infrasound” can also affect your health. It can resonate the body in such a way that you feel nauseated and disoriented. Some individuals even experience migraine symptoms like flashes of light and color.
How You Can Safeguard Your Hearing
Be mindful of how you feel about particular sounds. If you’re feeling pain or other symptoms when you’re around certain sounds, limit your exposure. Pain is often a warning sign of damage.
In order to know how your hearing may be changing over time, contact a hearing specialist for a hearing test.