When you were a teenager 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.
As you grew, you probably indulged in evenings out at loud concerts or the movies. It might even be common for you to have experienced loud noise at work. Long term health issues were the furthest thing from your mind.
You probably 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 Loud Sound Affects Health
The inner ear can be damaged by extremely loud sounds. You have tiny hairs that detect +
vibrations after they go through the eardrum membrane. Once these tiny hairs are destroyed, they don’t ever regenerate or heal. Many people, as they age, deal with sensorineural hearing loss caused by this.
Harmful volume starts at 85 decibels for an 8 hour time frame. If you’re exposed to over 100 decibels, lasting impairment occurs within 15 minutes. At 120 dB, the volume of a rock concert, instantaneous, permanent damage will take place.
Cardiovascular health can also be affected by noise. Obesity, high blood pressure, clogged arteries, and other vascular problems can be the consequence of increased stress hormones brought on by overly loud noise. So when individuals who are subjected to loud noise complain about headaches and memory loss, this may explain why. Cardiovascular health is strongly related to these symptoms.
Sound as low as 45 decibels can, based on one study, start to have an impact on 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 got sick when subjected to sounds. This sound was not at a very high volume. They could drown it out with a television. So how could this type of sound cause people to get sick?
The answer is frequency.
Even at lower volumes, considerable damage can be done by certain high-frequency sound.
Does the sound of nails on a chalkboard cause you to cringe? Have you ever begged a co-worker to stop as they press their fingers across a folded piece of paper? Have you ever needed to plug your ears during a violin recital?
If you’ve felt the power of high-frequency sounds, the pain you felt was in fact damage happening to your hearing. 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 could have become irreversible.
Studies have also discovered that damage can happen even if you can’t hear the sound. Harmful frequencies can come from lots of common devices such as sensors, trains, machinery, etc.
Very low-frequency sound called “infrasound” can also affect your health. The vibrations can make you feel dizzy and physically sick. Some people even get migraine symptoms such as flashes of color and light.
Safeguarding Your Hearing
Be mindful of how you feel about specific sounds. Limit your exposure if certain sounds make you feel pain or other symptoms. Pain is typically a warning sign of damage.
In order to understand how your hearing could be changing over time, contact a hearing specialist for an examination.