When you were a teenager and turned up the radio to full volume, you had little thought about how this might affect your health. You just enjoyed the music.
You had fun when you were growing up, going to loud concerts and movies. You may have even chosen a career where loud noise is normal. Still, you didn’t think it had any long-term impact.
You probably know differently now. Children as young as 12 can have lasting noise-induced hearing loss. But sound is so powerful it can actually be used as a weapon.
Can You Get Ill From Sound?
Actually, it Can. Particular sounds can evidently make you sick according to doctors and scientists. This is why.
How Health is Affected by Loud Noise
Very loud sounds harm the inner ear. You have tiny hairs that pick up +
vibrations after they go through the eardrum membrane. Once these tiny hairs are damaged, they don’t ever regenerate or heal. Many people, as they age, deal with sensorineural hearing loss caused by this.
Over 85 dB of volume for an 8 hour period will start to cause long-term damage. It only takes 15 minutes for lasting damage to occur at 100 dB. At 120 dB, the volume of a rock concert, immediate, irreversible damage will happen.
Noises can also impact cardiovascular wellness. Subjection to loud noise can increase stress hormones, which can result in clogged arteries, obesity, high blood pressure, and more. So when people who are exposed to loud noise complain about headaches and memory loss, this could explain why. Cardiovascular health is strongly related to these symptoms.
Sound as low as 45 decibels can, according to one study, start to impact your hormones and your heart. That’s roughly the volume of a person with a quiet indoor voice.
How Sound Frequency Impacts Health
A few years ago, diplomats in Cuba got sick when exposed to sounds. This sound was not at a very loud volume. They were able to drown it out with a tv. How might it have been able to make people ill?
The answer is frequency.
High frequency sounds like the one experienced in Cuba can do appreciable harm at lower volumes.
Have you ever cringed when someone scraped their nails on a chalkboard? Have you been driven crazy by somebody repeatedly dragging their finger over a folded piece of paper? Have you ever needed to cover your ears during a violin recital?
If you’ve felt the energy of high-pitched sounds, the pain you felt was in fact damage happening to your hearing. If you experienced this for an extended period of time, frequently exposed yourself to it, or were exposed at a high volume, then the damage could have become permanent.
Research has also revealed that damage can happen even if you can’t hear the sound. Damaging frequencies can come from many common devices such as machinery, trains, sensors, 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 dizzy. Some even experience flashes of color and light that are typical in migraine sufferers.
Protecting Your Hearing
Be mindful of how you feel about certain sounds. If you’re feeling pain or other symptoms when you’re exposed to certain sounds, limit your exposure. If you’re feeling pain in your ears, you’re probably doing damage.
In order to know how your hearing may be changing over time, contact a hearing specialist for an examination.