When you were a teenager and turned up the radio to full volume, you weren’t thinking about how this might harm your health. You simply enjoyed the music.
As you grew, you probably indulged in evenings out at loud movies and concerts. You could have even chosen a job where loud noise is the norm. Still, you didn’t think it had any lasting effects.
Now that you are older and more mature, you probably 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 You Get Ill From Sound?
In short, yes. Particular sounds can evidently cause you to get ill according to doctors and scientists. Here’s why.
How Health is Impacted by Loud Noise
Extremely loud sounds injure the inner ear. After sound passes through the membrane of the eardrum it’s picked up by little hairs in the ears. These hairs never regenerate 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 will start to cause long-term impairment. It only takes 15 minutes for long-term impairment to occur at 100 dB. A rock concert is around 120 decibels, which triggers instantaneous, irreversible damage.
Noises can also impact cardiovascular health. Subjection to loud sounds can boost stress hormones, which can contribute to clogged arteries, obesity, high blood pressure, and more. This might explain the headaches and memory problems that people exposed to loud noise complain about. These are firmly related to cardiovascular health.
Sound as low as 45 decibels can, based on one study, start to have an impact on your hormones and your heart. That’s approximately the volume of a person with a quiet indoor voice.
Your Health is Affected by Certain Sound Frequencies – Here’s How
A few years ago, diplomats in Cuba became sick when subjected to sounds. This sound was not at a really high volume. They were able to block it out with a television. How could it have made people ill?
The answer is frequency.
Even at lower volumes, significant harm can be done by some high-frequency sound.
Does the sound of nails on a chalkboard cause you to cringe? Have you been driven nuts by someone repeatedly dragging their finger across a folded piece of paper? Does the shrill sound of a violin put you on edge?
Damage was happening to your hearing if you’ve ever felt pain from high-pitched sound. 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 might have become permanent.
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 affected by infrasound which is very low frequency sound. The vibrations can make you feel dizzy and physically sick. Some even experience flashes of color and light that are typical in migraine sufferers.
How You Can Protect Your Hearing
Know how specific sounds make you feel. Reduce your exposure if specific sounds make you feel pain or other symptoms. Pain is typically a warning sign of damage.
Have your hearing tested regularly by a hearing specialist to understand how your hearing might be changing over time.