When you were younger you most likely had no idea that turning up the volume on your music could lead to health problems. You just enjoyed the music.
As you got older, you probably indulged in evenings out at loud movies and concerts. You may have even picked a job where loud noise is the norm. Still, you didn’t think it had any long-term impact.
Now that you’re older and more mature, you more likely know better. Children as young as 12 can have permanent noise-induced hearing impairment. But sound is so powerful it can actually be used as a weapon.
Can You Get Sick From Sound?
In a word, yes. It’s apparent 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 very loud sounds. After sound passes 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 regenerate 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 begin to cause long-term damage. It only takes 15 minutes for long-term impairment to set in at 100 dB. A rock concert is around 120 decibels, which brings about instant, irreversible damage.
Noises can also impact cardiovascular wellness. Subjection to loud sounds can boost stress hormones, which can contribute to High blood pressure, clogged arteries, obesity, and more. So when people who are exposed to loud noise complain about headaches and memory loss, this could explain why. These are directly connected to the health of your cardiovascular system.
Sound as low as 45 decibels can, based on one study, begin to have an impact on 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 several years ago. The sound in Cuba wasn’t very loud. They could drown it out with a tv. So how could this type of sound make people sick?
The answer is frequency.
Even at lower volumes, considerable 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 continuously 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 happening to your hearing. The damage could have become permanent if you’ve subjected yourself to this kind of sound repeatedly for longer periods of time.
Research has also revealed that damage can happen even if you can’t hear the sound. Damaging frequencies can come from many common devices such as machinery, trains, sensors, 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 individuals even get migraine symptoms such as flashes of color and light.
How You Can Safeguard Your Hearing
Be mindful of how you feel about particular sounds. Minimize your exposure if certain sounds make you feel pain or other symptoms. Pain is typically a warning sign of damage.
Get your hearing examined regularly by a hearing specialist to understand how your hearing may be changing over time.