When you were younger you most likely had no idea that turning the volume up on your music could lead to health concerns. You were simply having fun listening to your tunes.
As you grew, you probably indulged in nights out at loud movies and concerts. It may even be common for you to have experienced loud noise at work. Long term health problems were the furthest thing from your mind.
You more likely know differently today. Noise-induced hearing loss can appear in children as young as 12. But sound is so powerful it can actually be used as a weapon.
Can Sound Make You Ill?
In fact, it Can. Certain sounds can evidently make you ill according to doctors and scientists. Here’s the reason why.
How Health is Impacted 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 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.
Over 85 dB of volume for an 8 hour period of time will begin to cause permanent impairment. It only takes 15 minutes for lasting damage to occur at 100 dB. A rock concert is about 120 decibels, which brings about instantaneous, permanent damage.
Noises can also impact cardiovascular health. Exposure to loud sounds can increase stress hormones, which can result in High blood pressure, clogged arteries, obesity, and more. So when individuals who are exposed to loud noise complain about memory loss and headaches, this may explain why. Cardiovascular health is directly connected to these symptoms.
Actually, one study showed that sound volumes that begin to affect the heart, and hormones are as low a 45 decibels. That’s approximately the volume of someone with a quiet inside voice.
How Sound Frequency Affects Health
A few years ago, diplomats in Cuba became sick when exposed to sounds. This sound was not at a really loud volume. They could drown it out with a tv. So how could this kind of sound make people sick?
The answer is frequency.
High frequency sounds like the one experienced in Cuba can do appreciable harm at lower volumes.
Have you ever cringed when somebody scratched their nails on a chalkboard? Have you been driven nuts by somebody continuously dragging their finger across a folded piece of paper? Have you ever had to cover your ears during a violin recital?
Damage was happening to your hearing if you’ve ever felt pain from high-pitched sound. If you experienced this for an extended period of time, frequently exposed yourself to it, or were exposed at a high volume, then the damage could have become permanent.
Research has also found that you don’t even need to be able to hear the sound. High-frequency sounds coming from trains, sensors, machinery, and other man-made devices could be emitting frequencies that do damage with sustained exposure.
Very low-frequency sound called “infrasound” can also affect your health. It can vibrate the body in such a way that you feel nauseous and disoriented. Some even get flashes of light and color that are common in migraine sufferers.
Safeguarding Your Hearing
Be mindful of how you feel about particular sounds. Reduce your exposure if specific sounds make you feel pain or other symptoms. Pain is frequently a warning sign of damage.
In order to understand how your hearing could be changing over time, contact a hearing specialist for an examination.