Man getting hearing loss from blowing leaves without hearing protection.

When you were a kid you probably had no clue that cranking the volume up on your music could result in health concerns. You just enjoyed the music.

You had fun when you were growing up, going to loud concerts and movies. It may even be normal for you to have experienced loud noise at work. Still, you didn’t think it had any long-term effects.

Now that you’re older and more mature, you more likely know better. Noise-induced hearing impairment can appear in kids as young as 12. But sound is so powerful it can actually be used as a weapon.

Can Sound Make You Sick?

In short, yes. It’s apparent to scientists and doctors alike that certain sound can make you ill. This is why.

How Health is Affected by Loud Noise

The inner ear can be injured by very loud sounds. After sound goes through the membrane of the eardrum it’s picked up by tiny hairs in the ears. Once these little hairs are damaged, they don’t ever heal or regenerate. Many people, as they age, deal with sensorineural hearing loss caused by this.

Harmful volume starts at 85 decibels for an 8 hour period of time. It only takes 15 minutes for long-term damage to occur at 100 dB. A loud concert is around 120 decibels, which triggers immediate, permanent harm.

Cardiovascular wellness can also be impacted by noise. High blood pressure, clogged arteries, obesity, and other vascular problems can be the result of increased stress hormones brought on by overly loud noise. So when people who are exposed to loud noise complain about memory loss and headaches, this may explain why. Cardiovascular health is strongly connected to these symptoms.

In fact, one study showed that sound volumes that start to impact the heart, and hormones are as low a 45 decibels. That’s approximately the volume of somebody with a quiet indoor voice.

How Sound Frequency Affects Health

Cuban diplomats got sick after being exposed to certain sounds several years ago. This sound wasn’t at a very high volume. It could even be blocked out by a television. So how could this kind of sound make people sick?

Frequency is the answer.

High Frequency

High frequency sounds like the one experienced in Cuba can do appreciable harm at lower volumes.

Does the sound of nails on a chalkboard cause you to cringe? Have you ever begged a co-worker to stop as they run their fingers across a folded piece of paper? Does the shrill sound of a violin put you on edge?

Damage was being done to your hearing if you’ve ever experienced pain from high-pitched sound. If you experienced this for a time, frequently exposed yourself to it, or were exposed at a high volume, then the damage might have become irreversible.

Studies have also revealed that damage can be done even if you can’t hear the sound. Damaging frequencies can come from many common devices such as sensors, trains, machinery, etc.

Low Frequency

Extremely low-frequency sound known as “infrasound” can also impact your health. It can resonate the body in such a way that you feel nauseous and disoriented. Some even get flashes of color and light that are typical in migraine sufferers.

Protecting Your Hearing

Know how specific sounds make you feel. Minimize your exposure if particular 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 exam.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.