When you were a kid you most likely had no idea that cranking the volume up on your music could result in health issues. You were just having a good time listening to your tunes.
You had fun when you were growing up, going to loud concerts and movies. You might have even chosen a job where loud noise is the norm. Lasting health concerns were the furthest thing from your mind.
You probably know differently today. Children as young as 12 can have long-term noise-induced hearing impairment. But did you realize that sound is so powerful that it can even be used as a weapon?
Can Sound Make You Ill?
In fact, it Can. It’s evident to doctors and scientists alike that certain sound can make you ill. This is the reason why.
How Health is Affected by Loud Noise
The inner ear can be damaged by really loud sounds. After sound goes through the membrane of the eardrum it’s picked up by tiny 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.
Over 85 dB of volume for an 8 hour period of time will begin to cause permanent damage. If you’re subjected to over 100 dB, long-term impairment happens within 15 minutes. A rock concert is about 120 decibels, which brings about instant, permanent damage.
Noises can also affect cardiovascular health. Obesity, high blood pressure, clogged arteries, and other vascular issues can be the consequence of increased stress hormones brought on by excessively loud noise. So when people who are exposed to loud noise complain about headaches and memory loss, this may explain why. Cardiovascular health is directly connected to these symptoms.
Sound as low as 45 decibels can, according to one study, begin to have an impact on your hormones and your heart. That’s roughly the volume of somebody with a quiet inside voice.
How Sound Frequency Affects Health
A few years ago, diplomats in Cuba got sick when subjected to sounds. This sound was not at a really loud volume. They could block it out with a tv. So how could this kind of sound make people sick?
The answer is frequency.
Even at lower volumes, significant harm can be done by certain high-frequency sound.
Have you ever cringed when somebody scratched their nails on a chalkboard? Have you ever pleaded with a co-worker to stop as they press their fingers 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 in fact damage happening to your hearing. The damage could have become irreversible if you’ve subjected yourself to this kind of sound repeatedly for longer time periods.
Research has also discovered that damage can happen even if you can’t hear the sound. High-frequency sounds emanating from trains, sensors, machinery, and other man-made devices may be producing frequencies that do damage with sustained exposure.
Extremely low-frequency sound known as “infrasound” can also affect your health. It can vibrate the body in such a way that you feel nauseated and dizzy. Some even experience flashes of light and color that are typical in migraine sufferers.
Protecting Your Hearing
Know how certain sounds make you feel. 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.
In order to know how your hearing might be changing over time, contact a hearing specialist for a hearing test.