When you were a teenager and cranked the radio up to full volume, you weren’t thinking about how this could damage your health. You just enjoyed the music.
As you grew, you may have indulged in evenings out at loud concerts or the movies. You may have even picked a job where loud noise is normal. Still, you didn’t think it had any lasting effects.
Now that you’re older and more mature, you more likely know better. 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 You Get Sick From Sound?
In short, yes. Certain sounds can evidently make you sick according to scientists and doctors. Here’s why.
How Loud Sound Impacts Health
The inner ear can be damaged by really loud sounds. After sound goes through the membrane of the eardrum it’s picked up by little hairs in the ears. These hairs never grow back once they are destroyed. 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 start to cause long-term impairment. It only takes 15 minutes for lasting impairment to set in at 100 dB. At 120 dB, the volume of a rock concert, immediate, irreversible damage will take place.
Cardiovascular health can also be impacted by noise. Exposure to loud sounds can boost stress hormones, which can result in High blood pressure, clogged arteries, obesity, and more. This may explain the memory and headache issues that people exposed to loud noise complain about. Cardiovascular health is strongly connected to these symptoms.
As a matter of fact, one study revealed that sound volumes that begin to affect the heart, and hormones are as low a 45 decibels. That’s roughly the volume of someone with a quiet inside voice.
How Sound Frequency Affects Health
Several years ago, diplomats in Cuba became sick when exposed to sounds. The sound in Cuba wasn’t very loud. They could 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 like the one experienced in Cuba can do appreciable damage at lower volumes.
Have you ever cringed when someone scraped their nails on a chalkboard? Have you ever pleaded with 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?
Damage was being done to your hearing if you’ve ever experienced pain from high-frequency sound. If you experienced this for a time, regularly exposed yourself to it, or were exposed at a high volume, then the damage may have become permanent.
Studies have also discovered that you don’t even have to be able to hear the sound. High-frequency sounds emanating from trains, sensors, 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 resonate the body in such a way that the person feels nauseated and dizzy. Some even experience flashes of light and color that are common in migraine sufferers.
Safeguarding Your Hearing
Know how specific sounds make you feel. Minimize your exposure if certain sounds make you feel pain or other symptoms. Pain is often a warning sign of damage.
Get your hearing checked regularly by a hearing specialist to understand how your hearing may be changing over time.