When you were 16 and cranked up the radio to full volume, you had little thought about how this could harm your health. You were simply having fun listening to your tunes.
As you got older, you may have indulged in evenings out at loud concerts or the movies. It may even be normal for you to have experienced loud noise at work. Lasting health concerns were the furthest thing from your mind.
Now that you are older and more mature, you more likely know better. 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 Sound Make You Ill?
Actually, it Can. Particular sounds can evidently cause you to get sick according to doctors and scientists. Here’s why.
How Health is Impacted by Loud Noise
Really loud sounds harm the inner ear. After sound passes 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 grow back or heal. This is what causes the sensorineural hearing loss that many people deal with as they age.
Over 85 dB of volume for an 8 hour period will start to cause permanent impairment. If you’re exposed to over 100 dB, lasting impairment happens within 15 minutes. At 120 dB, the volume of a rock concert, instantaneous, long-term impairment will happen.
Cardiovascular wellness can also be impacted by noise. Obesity, high blood pressure, clogged arteries, and other vascular issues can be the outcome of elevated stress hormones induced by overly loud noise. This might explain the headaches and memory issues that people exposed to loud noise complain about. Cardiovascular health is directly related to these symptoms.
In fact, one study confirmed that sound volumes that start to impact the heart, and hormones are as low a 45 decibels. A person talking with a quiet inside voice is at this volume level.
How Sound Frequency Affects Health
A few years ago, diplomats in Cuba got sick when exposed to sounds. This sound wasn’t at a very high volume. It could even be drowned out by a television. How might it have been able to make people sick?
The answer is frequency.
Even at lower volumes, considerable harm can be done by certain high-frequency sound.
Does the sound of nails on a chalkboard make you cringe? Have you been driven nuts by someone repeatedly dragging their finger across 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-frequency sounds, the pain you felt was actually damage being done to your hearing. If you endured this for an extended period of time, regularly subjected yourself to it, or were exposed at a high volume, then the damage might have become irreversible.
Research has also discovered that you don’t even need to be able to hear the sound. Harmful frequencies can come from lots of common devices like machinery, trains, sensors etc.
Your health can also be impacted by infrasound which is very low frequency sound. It can resonate the body in such a way that you feel nauseous and disoriented. Some even experience flashes of light and color that are typical in migraine sufferers.
How You Can Protect Your Hearing
Recognize how particular sounds make you feel. Limit 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 understand how your hearing may be changing over time, contact a hearing specialist for a hearing test.