When you were younger you probably had no idea that turning the volume up on your music could result in health issues. You just enjoyed the music.
You had a good time when you were growing up, going to the movies and loud concerts. You might have even picked a career where loud noise is the norm. Long term health problems 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 lasting noise-induced hearing impairment. But did you realize that sound is so formidable that it can even be used as a weapon?
Can You Get Sick From Sound?
In short, yes. Certain sounds can evidently cause you to get sick according to scientists and doctors. This is the reason why.
How Health is Impacted 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. These hairs never regenerate once they are destroyed. Many people, as they age, deal with sensorineural hearing loss caused by this.
Harmful volume starts at 85 decibels for an 8 hour time frame. If you’re subjected to over 100 dB, permanent impairment takes place within 15 minutes. A loud concert is about 120 decibels, which triggers immediate, permanent harm.
Cardiovascular health can also be impacted by noise. Obesity, high blood pressure, clogged arteries, and other vascular issues can be the result of elevated stress hormones induced by overly loud noise. This could explain the memory and headache issues that individuals exposed to loud noise complain about. Cardiovascular health is strongly related to these symptoms.
Sound as low as 45 decibels can, as reported by one study, begin to affect your hormones and your heart. That’s around the volume of a person with a quiet indoor voice.
How Sound Frequency Affects Health
Cuban diplomats became sick after being subjected to certain sounds several years ago. The sound in Cuba wasn’t very loud. It could even be blocked out by a television. So how could this type of sound cause people to get sick?
The answer is frequency.
Even at lower volumes, considerable 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 over a folded piece of paper? Does the shrill sound of a violin put you on edge?
Damage was happening to your hearing if you’ve ever experienced pain from high-frequency sound. 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 could have become permanent.
Studies have also discovered that damage can happen even if you can’t hear the sound. High-pitched sounds coming from trains, sensors, machinery, and other man-made devices might be emitting frequencies that do damage with prolonged exposure.
Your health can also be affected by infrasound which is really low frequency sound. The vibrations can make you feel dizzy and physically sick. Some even experience flashes of light and color that are typical in migraine sufferers.
How You Can Protect Your Hearing
Be aware of how you feel about particular sounds. Limit your exposure if particular sounds make you feel pain or other symptoms. If you’re feeling pain in your ears, you’re probably doing damage.
Get your hearing checked regularly by a hearing specialist to understand how your hearing could be changing over time.