When you were younger you most likely had no idea that cranking the volume up on your music could lead to health problems. You just enjoyed the music.
You had fun, when you were growing up, going to the movies and loud concerts. It might even be normal for you to have experienced loud noise at work. Still, you didn’t think it had any lasting impact.
Now that you are older and more mature, you probably know better. Children as young as 12 can have lasting noise-induced hearing loss. But did you know that sound is so powerful that it can even be used as a weapon?
Can You Get Sick From Sound?
In short, yes. It’s evident to doctors and scientists alike that certain sound can make you ill. This is the reason why.
How Loud Sound Affects Health
Really loud sounds injure the inner ear. After sound goes through the membrane of the eardrum it’s picked up by little hairs in the ears. Once these tiny hairs are destroyed, they don’t ever heal or regenerate. Many people, as they age, deal with sensorinueral hearing loss caused by this.
Damaging volume begins at 85 decibels over an 8 hour time period. It only takes 15 minutes for permanent impairment to develop at 100 dB. At 120 dB, the volume of a rock concert, immediate, permanent damage will occur.
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. So when individuals who are exposed to loud noise complain about memory loss and headaches, this may explain why. Cardiovascular health is directly connected to these symptoms.
Sound as low as 45 decibels can, based on one study, begin to impact your hormones and your heart. A person talking with a quiet indoor voice is at this volume level.
How Sound Frequency Impacts Health
Cuban diplomats got sick after being exposed to certain sounds several years ago. This sound wasn’t at a really loud volume. It could even be blocked out by a television. How might it have been able to make people sick?
Frequency is the answer.
Even at lower volumes, considerable damage can be done by certain high-frequency sound.
Have you ever cringed when someone scratched their nails on a chalkboard? Have you been driven crazy by someone repeatedly dragging their finger across a folded piece of paper? Have you ever had to cover your ears during a violin recital?
If you’ve felt the force of high-pitched sounds, the pain you felt was actually damage happening to your hearing. If you endured this for a time, frequently exposed yourself to it, or were exposed at a high volume, then the damage could have become permanent.
Research has also revealed that damage can happen even if you can’t hear the sound. Damaging frequencies can come from lots of common devices like machinery, trains, sensors etc.
Very low-frequency sound known as “infrasound” can also affect your health. The vibrations can make you feel disoriented and physically ill. Some people even get migraine symptoms like flashes of color and light.
Protecting Your Hearing
Be aware of how you feel about specific sounds. If you’re feeling pain or other symptomswhen you’re exposed to specific sounds, limit your exposure. If you’re feeling pain in your ears, you’re probably doing damage.
Have your hearing examined regularly by a hearing specialist to find out how your hearing could be changing over time.