When you were younger you probably had no clue that turning the volume up on your music could lead to health issues. You just enjoyed the music.
You had fun when you were growing up, going to the movies and loud concerts. You could have even picked a job where loud noise is the norm. Still, you didn’t think it had any lasting effects.
You probably know differently now. Noise-induced hearing impairment can appear in children as young as 12. But sound is so powerful it can even be used as a weapon.
Can You Get Sick From Sound?
In short, yes. It’s evident to scientists and doctors alike that specific sound can make you sick. Here’s the reason why.
How Loud Sound Affects Health
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 grow back once they are damaged. 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 lasting impairment. If you’re exposed to over 100 decibels, permanent damage occurs within 15 minutes. At 120 dB, the volume of a rock concert, immediate, irreversible damage will occur.
Noises can also impact cardiovascular wellness. Exposure to loud noise can boost stress hormones, which can contribute to clogged arteries, obesity, high blood pressure, and more. So when individuals who are exposed to loud noise complain about memory loss and headaches, this could explain why. These are directly related to the health of your cardiovascular system.
In fact, one study revealed that sound volumes that begin to affect the heart, and hormones are as low a 45 decibels. A person talking with a quiet inside voice is at this volume level.
Your Health is Impacted by Some Sound Frequencies – Here’s How
Cuban diplomats became sick after being exposed to certain sounds several years ago. This sound wasn’t at a really loud volume. It could even be drowned out by a television. How could it have made people sick?
The answer is frequency.
Even at lower volumes, significant harm can be done by some high-frequency sound.
Have you ever cringed when someone scraped their nails on a chalkboard? Have you been driven crazy by someone repeatedly dragging their finger across a folded piece of paper? Have you ever had to plug your ears during a violin recital?
If you’ve felt the power of high-pitched 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.
Research has also found that you don’t even need to be able to hear the sound. Damaging frequencies can come from many common devices such as machinery, trains, sensors, etc.
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 individuals even experience migraine symptoms such as flashes of light and color.
Safeguarding Your Hearing
Know how particular sounds make you feel. Limit your exposure if certain sounds make you feel pain or other symptoms. Pain is often a warning sign of damage.
Have your hearing tested regularly by a hearing specialist to understand how your hearing may be changing over time.