When you were younger you probably had no clue that cranking the volume up on your music could result in health concerns. You just enjoyed the music.
You had a good time when you were growing up, going to the movies and loud concerts. It might even be common for you to have experienced loud noise at work. Still, you didn’t think it had any long-term impact.
You more likely know differently today. 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 Sound Make You Ill?
Actually, it Can. It’s evident to scientists and doctors alike that certain sound can make you ill. This is why.
How Loud Sound Affects Health
The inner ear can be harmed by very loud sounds. After sound goes through the membrane of the eardrum it’s picked up by little hairs in the ears. Once these little hairs are damaged, they don’t ever regenerate or heal. Many people, as they age, deal with sensorineural hearing loss caused by this.
Dangerous volume begins at 85 decibels for an 8 hour time period. If you’re subjected to over 100 dB, lasting damage happens within 15 minutes. A loud concert is around 120 decibels, which causes instantaneous, permanent harm.
Noises can also impact cardiovascular wellness. Exposure to loud sounds can boost stress hormones, which can result in clogged arteries, obesity, high blood pressure, and more. So when people who are exposed to loud noise complain about headaches and memory loss, this could explain why. Cardiovascular health is directly related to these symptoms.
In fact, one study showed that sound volumes that start to impact the heart, and hormones are as low a 45 decibels. That’s approximately the volume of someone with a quiet inside voice.
How Sound Frequency Affects Health
Several years ago, diplomats in Cuba became sick when subjected to sounds. This sound was not at a really loud volume. It could even be blocked out by a television. So how could this type of sound make people sick?
The answer is frequency.
High frequency sounds like the one experienced in Cuba can do appreciable harm at lower volumes.
Does the sound of nails on a chalkboard make you cringe? Have you been driven crazy by someone repeatedly dragging their finger across a folded piece of paper? Have you ever needed to cover your ears during a violin recital?
If you’ve felt the energy of high-pitched sounds, the pain you felt was actually damage being done to your hearing. If you endured this for an extended period of time, frequently subjected yourself to it, or were exposed at a high volume, then the damage might have become irreversible.
Research has also found that you don’t even need to be able to hear the sound. Damaging frequencies can come from many common devices such as sensors, trains, machinery, etc.
Your health can also be impacted by infrasound which is very low frequency sound. It can vibrate the body in such a way that you feel nauseous and disoriented. Some people even experience migraine symptoms like flashes of color and light.
How You Can Safeguard Your Hearing
Recognize how certain sounds make you feel. If you’re feeling pain or other symptoms when you’re around particular sounds, reduce your exposure. Pain is often a warning sign of damage.
Get your hearing checked regularly by a hearing specialist to find out how your hearing might be changing over time.