When you were 16 and cranked the radio up to full volume, you weren’t thinking about how this might affect your health. You simply enjoyed the music.
As you got older, you probably indulged in evenings out at loud movies and concerts. It may even be common for you to have experienced loud noise at work. Long term health concerns were the furthest thing from your mind.
Now that you are older and more mature, you more likely know better. Children as young as 12 can have long-term noise-induced hearing loss. But sound is so powerful it can actually be used as a weapon.
Can Sound Make You Sick?
In fact, it Can. Particular sounds can evidently make you ill according to doctors and scientists. Here’s the reason why.
How Health is Affected by Loud Noise
The inner ear can be harmed 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 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 will start to cause long-term impairment. If you’re subjected to over 100 decibels, lasting damage happens within 15 minutes. A rock concert is around 120 decibels, which brings about instantaneous, permanent harm.
Cardiovascular health can also be impacted by noise. Exposure to loud sounds can increase stress hormones, which can contribute to 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.
Sound as low as 45 decibels can, based on one study, start to affect your hormones and your heart. That’s around the volume of a person with a quiet inside voice.
How Sound Frequency Affects Health
Cuban diplomats got sick after being exposed to certain sounds several years ago. The sound in Cuba wasn’t that loud. They could block it out with a tv. How could it have made people sick?
Frequency is the answer.
Even at lower volumes, appreciable harm can be done by some high-frequency sound.
Have you ever cringed when somebody scratched their nails on a chalkboard? Have you ever begged a co-worker to stop as they press their fingers across a folded piece of paper? Does the shrill sound of a violin put you on edge?
If you’ve felt the energy of high-frequency sounds, the pain you felt was actually damage happening to your hearing. The damage could have become permanent if you’ve exposed yourself to this sort of sound repeatedly for longer periods of time.
Studies have also discovered that damage can happen even if you can’t hear the sound. Harmful frequencies can come from many common devices like sensors, trains, machinery, 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 color and light that are common in migraine sufferers.
Protecting Your Hearing
Recognize how certain sounds make you feel. Reduce your exposure if certain sounds make you feel pain or other symptoms. Pain is commonly a warning sign of damage.
Have your hearing tested regularly by a hearing specialist to find out how your hearing may be changing over time.