When you were 16 and turned up the radio to full volume, you had little thought about how this could affect your health. You were just having a good time listening to your tunes.
You had a good time when you were growing up, going to the movies and loud concerts. You could have even chosen a career where loud noise is the norm. Lasting health concerns were the furthest thing from your mind.
You probably know differently today. Noise-induced hearing loss can show up in kids as young as 12. But did you realize that sound is so powerful that it can even be used as a weapon?
Can Sound Make You Sick?
In a word, yes. It’s evident to doctors and scientists alike that specific sound can make you ill. This is why.
How Loud Sound Impacts Health
Really loud sounds damage the inner ear. After sound passes through the membrane of the eardrum it’s picked up by little hairs in the ears. Once these small hairs are destroyed, they don’t ever heal or grow back. This is what causes the sensorineural hearing loss that many people deal with as they age.
Dangerous volume starts at 85 decibels for an 8 hour time period. It only takes 15 minutes for lasting damage to develop at 100 dB. At 120 dB, the volume of a rock concert, instantaneous, irreversible impairment will occur.
Cardiovascular wellness can also be affected by noise. High blood pressure, clogged arteries, obesity, and other vascular problems can be the consequence of elevated stress hormones induced by overly loud noise. This could explain the memory and headache problems that people subjected to loud noise complain about. These are firmly linked to cardiovascular health.
Sound as low as 45 decibels can, based on one study, begin to have an impact on your hormones and your heart. A person talking with a quiet indoor voice is at this volume level.
Your Health is Impacted by Some Sound Frequencies – Here’s How
Several years ago, diplomats in Cuba became sick when exposed to sounds. This sound wasn’t at a very high volume. It could even be blocked out by a television. So how could this kind of sound make people sick?
Frequency is the answer.
High frequency sounds like the one experienced in Cuba can do appreciable damage at lower volumes.
Have you ever cringed when somebody scraped their nails on a chalkboard? Have you ever pleaded with a co-worker to stop as they press their fingers over a folded piece of paper? Does the shrill sound of a violin put you on edge?
Damage was being done to your hearing if you’ve ever felt pain from high-frequency sound. If you endured this for an extended period of time, regularly exposed yourself to it, or were exposed at a high volume, then the damage may have become irreversible.
Studies have also discovered that you don’t even need to be able to hear the sound. High-pitched sounds emanating from trains, sensors, machinery, and other man-made devices could be emitting frequencies that do damage with sustained exposure.
Your health can also be affected by infrasound which is extremely low frequency sound. The vibrations can make you feel disoriented 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 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 most likely doing damage.
In order to know how your hearing could be changing over time, contact a hearing specialist for an exam.