When you were a teenager and turned the radio up to full volume, you had little thought about how this might harm your health. You simply enjoyed the music.
You had a good time 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 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 Sick?
Actually, it Can. It’s evident to doctors and scientists alike that specific sound can make you sick. This is why.
How Health is Affected by Loud Noise
Extremely loud sounds injure the inner ear. You have little hairs that detect +
vibrations after they go through the membrane of the eardrum. Once these tiny hairs are destroyed, they don’t ever grow back or heal. 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 will start to cause permanent damage. If you’re exposed to over 100 decibels, long-term impairment happens within 15 minutes. A rock concert is about 120 decibels, which brings about immediate, permanent harm.
Cardiovascular wellness can also be affected by noise. Exposure to loud noise can increase stress hormones, which can contribute to clogged arteries, obesity, high blood pressure, and more. This may explain the headaches and memory issues that individuals exposed to loud noise complain about. These are firmly connected to cardiovascular health.
Sound as low as 45 decibels can, as reported by one study, start to affect your hormones and your heart. A person talking with a quiet inside voice is at this volume level.
How Sound Frequency Impacts Health
Cuban diplomats got sick after being exposed to certain sounds a few years ago. This sound wasn’t at a very loud volume. They could block it out with a television. So how could this kind of sound make people sick?
The answer is frequency.
Even at lower volumes, appreciable damage can be done by some high-frequency sound.
Have you ever cringed when someone scratched their nails on a chalkboard? 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 power of high-pitched sounds, the pain you felt was actually damage being done to your hearing. If you experienced this for an extended period of time, regularly exposed yourself to it, or were exposed at a high volume, then the damage might have become irreversible.
Studies have also found that you don’t even need 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.
Very low-frequency sound known as “infrasound” can also affect your health. The vibrations can make you feel disoriented and physically ill. Some individuals even get migraine symptoms such as flashes of light and color.
How You Can Safeguard Your Hearing
Know how certain sounds make you feel. If you’re feeling pain or other symptoms when you’re exposed to particular sounds, limit your exposure. If you’re experiencing pain in your ears, you’re most likely doing damage.
Have your hearing checked regularly by a hearing specialist to understand how your hearing might be changing over time.