Hearing Health Blog

Man getting hearing loss from blowing leaves without hearing protection.

When you were a kid you most likely had no clue that cranking the volume up on your music could result in health problems. You were simply having fun listening to your tunes.

You had a good time when you were growing up, going to loud concerts and movies. It might even be normal for you to have experienced loud noise at work. Still, you didn’t think it had any lasting effects.

You more likely know differently now. Noise-induced hearing loss can appear in children as young as 12. But did you know that sound is so formidable that it can even be used as a weapon?

Can Sound Make You Sick?

In short, yes. Certain sounds can evidently cause you to get ill according to scientists and doctors. Here’s why.

How Loud Sound Impacts Health

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

Dangerous volume begins at 85 decibels over an 8 hour period of time. If you’re subjected to over 100 decibels, permanent impairment takes place within 15 minutes. A loud concert is about 120 decibels, which triggers immediate, irreversible damage.

Cardiovascular health can also be affected by noise. Obesity, high blood pressure, clogged arteries, and other vascular issues can be the outcome of elevated stress hormones induced by overly loud noise. This might explain the headaches and memory issues that individuals subjected to loud noise complain about. These are firmly linked to the health of your cardiovascular system.

As a matter of fact, one study revealed that sound volumes that begin to affect the heart, and hormones are as low a 45 decibels. That’s around the volume of somebody with a quiet indoor voice.

How Sound Frequency Affects Health

Cuban diplomats became sick after being subjected to certain sounds a few years ago. The sound in Cuba wasn’t very loud. They could block it out with a tv. So how could this type 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 make you cringe? Have you been driven crazy by somebody continuously dragging their finger 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-pitched sounds, the pain you felt was in fact damage being done to your hearing. The damage could have become irreversible if you’ve exposed yourself to this kind of sound repeatedly for longer periods of time.

Studies have also discovered that damage can happen even if you can’t hear the sound. High-frequency sounds emanating from trains, sensors, machinery, and other man-made devices might be producing frequencies that do damage with too much exposure.

Low Frequency

Your health can also be impacted by infrasound which is extremely low frequency sound. It can resonate the body in such a way that you feel nauseous and dizzy. Some even experience flashes of color and light that are common in migraine sufferers.

Protecting Your Hearing

Know how certain sounds make you feel. Minimize your exposure if specific sounds make you feel pain or other symptoms. Pain is frequently a warning sign of damage.

Have your hearing examined regularly by a hearing specialist to understand how your hearing may be changing over time.

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