When you were a teenager and cranked the radio up to full volume, you had little thought about how this might harm your health. You simply enjoyed the music.
As you got older, you probably indulged in nights out at loud movies and concerts. It may even be common for you to have experienced loud noise at work. Lasting health issues were the furthest thing from your mind.
Now that you’re older and more mature, you more likely know better. Children as young as 12 can have long-term 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 Sick From Sound?
In a word, yes. Particular sounds can evidently make you ill according to doctors and scientists. Here’s why.
How Loud Sound Impacts Health
The inner ear can be harmed by extremely loud sounds. 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 of time will begin to cause lasting impairment. It only takes 15 minutes for lasting damage to develop at 100 dB. At 120 dB, the volume of a rock concert, instant, lasting damage will happen.
Cardiovascular health can also be impacted by noise. High blood pressure, clogged arteries, obesity, and other vascular concerns can be the consequence of elevated stress hormones induced by overly loud noise. This may explain the headaches and memory issues that individuals exposed to loud noise complain about. These are firmly connected to the health of your cardiovascular system.
Sound as low as 45 decibels can, as reported by one study, start to have an impact on your hormones and your heart. A person speaking with a quiet indoor voice is at this volume level.
Your Health is Impacted by Certain Sound Frequencies – Here’s How
Cuban diplomats became sick after being exposed to certain sounds a few years ago. The sound in Cuba wasn’t very loud. They were able to block it out with a television. How might it have been able to make people ill?
Frequency is the answer.
Even at lower volumes, considerable damage can be done by certain high-frequency sound.
Does the sound of nails on a chalkboard make you cringe? Have you ever begged a co-worker to stop as they run their fingers across a folded piece of paper? Have you ever had to cover your ears during a violin recital?
If you’ve felt the energy of high-pitched sounds, the pain you felt was actually damage being done to your hearing. The damage could have become irreversible if you’ve subjected yourself to this kind of sound repeatedly for longer time periods.
Studies have also discovered that damage can happen even if you can’t hear the sound. Harmful frequencies can come from lots of common devices such as machinery, trains, sensors, etc.
Extremely low-frequency sound known as “infrasound” can also impact your health. The vibrations can make you feel disoriented and physically sick. Some individuals even experience migraine symptoms such as flashes of light and color.
How You Can Protect Your Hearing
Recognize how specific sounds make you feel. Reduce your exposure if particular sounds make you feel pain or other symptoms. Pain is commonly a warning sign of damage.
In order to know how your hearing could be changing over time, contact a hearing specialist for a hearing test.