When you were younger you probably had no idea that cranking up the volume on your music could result in health concerns. You simply enjoyed the music.
You had a good time when you were growing up, going to loud concerts and movies. You could have even chosen a career where loud noise is the norm. Still, you didn’t think it had any lasting impact.
You more likely know differently now. Noise-induced hearing loss can show up in children as young as 12. But did you realize that sound is so formidable that it can even be used as a weapon?
Can Sound Make You Ill?
In short, yes. It’s apparent to scientists and doctors alike that certain sound can make you sick. This is why.
How Health is Impacted by Loud Noise
The inner ear can be damaged by extremely loud sounds. After sound goes through the membrane of the eardrum it’s picked up by tiny hairs in the ears. Once these tiny hairs are damaged, they don’t ever heal or grow back. Many people, as they age, deal with sensorineural hearing loss caused by this.
Damaging volume starts at 85 decibels over an 8 hour time frame. It only takes 15 minutes for lasting damage to set in at 100 dB. At 120 dB, the volume of a rock concert, instant, long-term impairment will occur.
Cardiovascular health can also be impacted by noise. High blood pressure, clogged arteries, obesity, and other vascular issues can be the result of elevated stress hormones brought on by excessively loud noise. So when people who are exposed to loud noise complain about memory loss and headaches, this may explain why. Cardiovascular health is strongly linked to these symptoms.
Actually, one study revealed that sound volumes that start to affect 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. The sound in Cuba wasn’t very loud. It could even be drowned out by a television. How could it have made people sick?
The answer is frequency.
Even at lower volumes, significant damage can be done by some high-frequency sound.
Have you ever cringed when somebody scratched their nails on a chalkboard? 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?
If you’ve felt the power of high-frequency sounds, the pain you felt was actually damage being done to your hearing. The damage may have become permanent if you’ve subjected yourself to this kind of sound repeatedly for longer periods of time.
Research has also discovered that damage can happen even if you can’t hear the sound. High-frequency sounds emanating from sensors, trains, machinery, and other man-made devices might be emitting frequencies that do damage with sustained exposure.
Very low-frequency sound called “infrasound” can also affect your health. The vibrations can make you feel disoriented and physically sick. Some even get flashes of color and light that are typical in migraine sufferers.
Protecting Your Hearing
Recognize how particular sounds make you feel. Limit your exposure if particular 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 could be changing over time, get in touch with a hearing specialist for an examination.