When you were 16 and turned the radio up to full volume, you weren’t thinking about how this could harm your health. You were simply having a good time listening to your tunes.
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 long-term effects.
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 sound is so powerful 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 ill. This is why.
How Health is Impacted by Loud Noise
The inner ear can be injured by extremely loud sounds. After sound passes through the membrane of the eardrum it’s picked up by little hairs in the ears. These hairs never regenerate once they are damaged. This is what causes the sensorineural hearing loss that many people deal with as they age.
Dangerous volume starts at 85 decibels over an 8 hour time period. If you’re subjected to over 100 decibels, lasting impairment takes place within 15 minutes. A rock concert is around 120 decibels, which triggers instant, permanent harm.
Cardiovascular wellness can also be affected by noise. Exposure to loud noise can boost stress hormones, which can result in High blood pressure, clogged arteries, obesity, and more. So when people who are exposed to loud noise complain about memory loss and headaches, this could explain why. Cardiovascular health is strongly connected to these symptoms.
Actually, one study revealed that sound volumes that start to affect the heart, and hormones are as low a 45 decibels. That’s roughly the volume of a person with a quiet inside voice.
How Sound Frequency Impacts Health
Cuban diplomats became sick after being subjected to certain sounds a few years ago. This sound wasn’t at a very high volume. They were able to block it out with a tv. How could it have made people ill?
The answer is frequency.
High frequency sounds such as the one experienced in Cuba can do significant harm at lower volumes.
Have you ever cringed when someone scraped their nails on a chalkboard? Have you ever begged a co-worker to stop as they run their fingers across a folded piece of paper? Does the shrill sound of a violin put you on edge?
If you’ve felt the force of high-pitched sounds, the pain you felt was in fact damage happening to your hearing. If you experienced this for an extended period of time, regularly subjected yourself to it, or were exposed at a high volume, then the damage might have become permanent.
Research has also found that you don’t even need to be able to hear the sound. High-frequency sounds coming from sensors, trains, machinery, and other man-made devices may be emitting frequencies that do damage with too much exposure.
Extremely low-frequency sound called “infrasound” can also impact your health. The vibrations can make you feel disoriented and physically ill. Some people even get migraine symptoms like flashes of light and color.
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 exposed to specific sounds, reduce your exposure. If you’re experiencing pain in your ears, you’re probably doing damage.
Get your hearing tested regularly by a hearing specialist to understand how your hearing may be changing over time.