When you were a kid you probably had no idea that turning up the volume on your music could lead to health problems. 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 picked a job where loud noise is normal. Still, you didn’t think it had any long-term effects.
You probably know differently now. Children as young as 12 can have lasting noise-induced hearing loss. But did you know that sound is so powerful that it can even be used as a weapon?
Can You Get Sick From Sound?
Actually, it Can. It’s evident to scientists and doctors alike that certain sound can make you ill. This is why.
How Loud Sound Affects Health
Really loud sounds damage the inner ear. After sound goes through the membrane of the eardrum it’s picked up by little hairs in the ears. These hairs never regenerate once they are destroyed. This is what causes the sensorineural hearing loss that many people deal with as they age.
Damaging volume begins at 85 decibels for an 8 hour time frame. It only takes 15 minutes for permanent impairment to occur at 100 dB. A rock concert is around 120 decibels, which brings about instant, irreversible harm.
Cardiovascular health can also be affected by noise. High blood pressure, clogged arteries, obesity, and other vascular issues can be the consequence of elevated stress hormones brought on by excessively loud noise. So when people who are exposed to loud noise complain about headaches and memory loss, this could explain why. Cardiovascular health is directly connected to these symptoms.
Sound as low as 45 decibels can, according to one study, start to have an impact on your hormones and your heart. A person speaking with a quiet indoor voice is at this volume level.
Your Health is Affected by Some Sound Frequencies – Here’s How
Cuban diplomats got sick after being exposed to certain sounds a few years ago. The sound in Cuba wasn’t that loud. It could even be drowned out by a television. So how could this kind of sound cause people to get sick?
The answer is frequency.
Even at lower volumes, appreciable harm can be done by some high-frequency sound.
Does the sound of nails on a chalkboard make you cringe? 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 plug 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. 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.
Research has also found that you don’t even need to be able to hear the sound. Damaging frequencies can come from lots of common devices such as machinery, trains, sensors, etc.
Your health can also be impacted by infrasound which is really low frequency sound. The vibrations can make you feel dizzy and physically ill. Some even experience flashes of light and color that are typical in migraine sufferers.
How You Can Protect Your Hearing
Recognize how specific 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 feeling pain in your ears, you’re most likely doing damage.
In order to know how your hearing might be changing over time, get in touch with a hearing specialist for an examination.