When you were a teenager and cranked the radio up to full volume, you had little thought about how this could damage your health. You were just having a good time listening to your tunes.
You had fun when you were growing up, going to loud concerts and movies. It might even be normal for you to have experienced loud noise at work. Lasting health concerns were the furthest thing from your mind.
You more likely know differently today. Children as young as 12 can have permanent noise-induced hearing loss. But sound is so powerful it can even be used as a weapon.
Can You Get Sick From Sound?
In fact, it Can. It’s apparent to scientists and doctors alike that certain sound can make you ill. This is why.
How Health is Impacted by Loud Noise
Extremely loud sounds harm the inner ear. You have little hairs that detect +
vibrations after they go through the membrane of the eardrum. Once these tiny hairs are damaged, they don’t ever grow back or heal. Many people, as they age, deal with sensorineural hearing loss caused by this.
Dangerous volume starts at 85 decibels over an 8 hour time frame. If you’re exposed to over 100 dB, long-term impairment takes place within 15 minutes. A loud concert is about 120 decibels, which triggers instant, permanent damage.
Noises can also affect cardiovascular health. Exposure to loud sounds can boost stress hormones, which can contribute to High blood pressure, clogged arteries, obesity, and more. So when people who are exposed to loud noise complain about headaches and memory loss, this may explain why. These are firmly related to the health of your cardiovascular system.
Sound as low as 45 decibels can, as reported by one study, begin to affect your hormones and your heart. That’s about the volume of somebody with a quiet indoor voice.
How Sound Frequency Impacts Health
Several years ago, diplomats in Cuba became sick when exposed to sounds. This sound was not at a really high volume. It could even be blocked out by a television. So how could this kind of sound make people sick?
The answer is frequency.
Even at lower volumes, significant harm can be done by some high-frequency sound.
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? 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-frequency sound. If you experienced this for a time, regularly exposed yourself to it, or were exposed at a high volume, then the damage could have become permanent.
Research has also discovered that damage can be done even if you can’t hear the sound. Harmful frequencies can come from many common devices such as machinery, trains, sensors, etc.
Very low-frequency sound called “infrasound” can also impact your health. It can vibrate the body in such a way that the person feels nauseous and disoriented. Some even experience flashes of color and light that are common in migraine sufferers.
How You Can Safeguard Your Hearing
Know how particular sounds make you feel. Minimize your exposure if particular sounds make you feel pain or other symptoms. If you’re feeling pain in your ears, you’re most likely doing damage.
Get your hearing tested regularly by a hearing specialist to understand how your hearing might be changing over time.