When you were a teenager and turned up the radio to full volume, you weren’t thinking about how this might damage your health. You simply enjoyed the music.
You had a good time when you were growing up, going to loud concerts and movies. It may even be normal for you to have experienced loud noise at work. Lasting health problems were the furthest thing from your mind.
You more likely know differently today. Children as young as 12 can have long-term noise-induced hearing impairment. 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 a word, yes. It’s apparent to scientists and doctors alike that certain sound can make you ill. Here’s why.
How Loud Sound Impacts Health
The inner ear can be injured by extremely loud sounds. After sound passes 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 grow back or heal. Many people, as they age, deal with sensorineural hearing loss caused by this.
Damaging volume starts at 85 decibels for an 8 hour time frame. It only takes 15 minutes for permanent impairment to develop at 100 dB. At 120 dB, the volume of a rock concert, instantaneous, irreversible impairment will occur.
Noises can also affect cardiovascular wellness. Subjection to loud noise can increase stress hormones, which can contribute to High blood pressure, clogged arteries, obesity, and more. This might explain the memory and headache problems that individuals exposed to loud noise complain about. Cardiovascular health is strongly linked to these symptoms.
Sound as low as 45 decibels can, according to one study, begin to affect your hormones and your heart. That’s approximately the volume of someone with a quiet indoor voice.
How Sound Frequency Affects Health
A few years ago, diplomats in Cuba got sick when subjected to sounds. The sound in Cuba wasn’t that loud. They were able to block it out with a television. So how could this type of sound cause people to get sick?
Frequency is the answer.
High frequency sounds such as the one experienced in Cuba can do considerable harm at lower volumes.
Does the sound of nails on a chalkboard make you cringe? Have you ever begged a co-worker to stop as they run their fingers across a folded piece of paper? Have you ever needed to cover your ears during a violin recital?
Damage was being done to your hearing if you’ve ever felt pain from high-frequency sound. The damage may have become permanent if you’ve subjected yourself to this sort of sound repeatedly for longer time periods.
Studies have also discovered that damage can happen even if you can’t hear the sound. High-frequency sounds coming from sensors, trains, machinery, and other man-made devices might be emitting frequencies that do damage with too much exposure.
Your health can also be impacted by infrasound which is really low frequency sound. It can vibrate the body in such a way that you feel nauseous and disoriented. Some people even get migraine symptoms like flashes of color and light.
Safeguarding Your Hearing
Know how certain sounds make you feel. If you’re feeling pain or other symptoms when you’re exposed to certain sounds, limit your exposure. If you’re feeling pain in your ears, you’re most likely doing damage.
Get your hearing examined regularly by a hearing specialist to find out how your hearing could be changing over time.