When you were a kid you probably had no clue that cranking the volume up on your music could lead to health problems. You were simply having a good time listening to your tunes.
As you grew, you may have indulged in evenings out at loud concerts or the movies. It may even be normal for you to have experienced loud noise at work. Long term health issues were the furthest thing from your mind.
Now that you’re older and more mature, you probably know better. Children as young as 12 can have lasting noise-induced hearing loss. But did you realize that sound is so formidable that it can even be used as a weapon?
Can You Get Ill From Sound?
In a word, yes. It’s apparent to doctors and scientists alike that certain sound can make you ill. This is why.
How Health is Affected by Loud Noise
Very loud sounds injure the inner ear. You have little hairs that detect +
vibrations after they pass through the membrane of the eardrum. Once these tiny hairs are damaged, they don’t ever grow back or heal. This is what causes the sensorineural hearing loss that many people deal with as they age.
Dangerous volume begins at 85 decibels over an 8 hour time period. It only takes 15 minutes for long-term impairment to set in at 100 dB. At 120 dB, the volume of a rock concert, immediate, lasting impairment will occur.
Noises can also affect cardiovascular health. High blood pressure, clogged arteries, obesity, and other vascular concerns can be the consequence of increased stress hormones brought on by overly loud noise. So when individuals who are exposed to loud noise complain about headaches and memory loss, this may explain why. These are directly linked to cardiovascular health.
Sound as low as 45 decibels can, according to one study, start to impact your hormones and your heart. A person speaking with a quiet inside voice is at this volume level.
How Sound Frequency Affects Health
A few years ago, diplomats in Cuba became sick when exposed to sounds. The sound in Cuba wasn’t very loud. It could even be blocked out by a television. How might it have been able to make people sick?
The answer is frequency.
Even at lower volumes, significant damage can be done by some 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 press their fingers over a folded piece of paper? Does the shrill sound of a violin put you on edge?
If you’ve felt the energy of high-pitched sounds, the pain you felt was actually damage being done to your hearing. If you experienced this for a time, regularly subjected yourself to it, or were exposed at a high volume, then the damage might have become permanent.
Research has also discovered that you don’t even have to be able to 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 sick. Some even get flashes of light and color that are common in migraine sufferers.
How You Can Safeguard Your Hearing
Be aware of how you feel about certain sounds. If you’re feeling pain or other symptoms when you’re around particular sounds, limit your exposure. Pain is commonly a warning sign of damage.
In order to know how your hearing may be changing over time, contact a hearing specialist for an examination.