When you were a teenager and cranked the radio up to full volume, you had little thought about how this could damage your health. You just enjoyed the music.
As you got older, you may have indulged in nights out at loud concerts or the movies. You may have even chosen a career where loud noise is normal. 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 long-term noise-induced hearing loss. But did you realize that sound is so powerful that it can even be used as a weapon?
Can Sound Make You Sick?
Actually, it Can. Certain sounds can evidently make you ill according to scientists and doctors. This is the reason why.
How Health is Affected by Loud Noise
The inner ear can be damaged by very loud sounds. After sound goes 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 heal or grow back. Many people, as they age, deal with sensorineural hearing loss caused by this.
Over 85 dB of volume for an 8 hour period will begin to cause lasting impairment. It only takes 15 minutes for permanent damage to develop at 100 dB. At 120 dB, the volume of a rock concert, instant, irreversible impairment will occur.
Cardiovascular health can also be affected by noise. High blood pressure, clogged arteries, obesity, and other vascular problems can be the result of increased stress hormones induced by overly loud noise. So when people who are exposed to loud noise complain about memory loss and headaches, this may explain why. Cardiovascular health is strongly linked to these symptoms.
Sound as low as 45 decibels can, as reported by one study, start to affect your hormones and your heart. A person speaking with a quiet inside voice is at this volume level.
How Sound Frequency Affects Health
Cuban diplomats became sick after being subjected to certain sounds a few years ago. The sound in Cuba wasn’t very loud. It could even be drowned out by a television. How could it have made people sick?
The answer is frequency.
High frequency sounds like the one experienced in Cuba can do considerable harm at lower volumes.
Does the sound of nails on a chalkboard cause you to cringe? Have you been driven nuts by somebody repeatedly dragging their finger over a folded piece of paper? Does the shrill sound of a violin put you on edge?
If you’ve felt the energy of high-pitched sounds, the pain you felt was actually damage being done to your hearing. The damage could have become permanent if you’ve exposed yourself to this kind of sound repeatedly for longer periods of time.
Studies have also discovered that damage can happen even if you can’t hear the sound. High-pitched sounds emanating from sensors, trains, machinery, and other man-made devices might be producing frequencies that do damage with sustained exposure.
Your health can also be impacted by infrasound which is really low frequency sound. The vibrations can make you feel disoriented and physically ill. Some even experience flashes of color and light that are typical in migraine sufferers.
How You Can Safeguard Your Hearing
Be aware of how you feel about particular sounds. If you’re feeling pain or other symptoms when you’re around specific sounds, limit your exposure. Pain is often a warning sign of damage.
In order to know how your hearing could be changing over time, contact a hearing specialist for an examination.