Hearing Services of Nashville

Man getting hearing loss from blowing leaves without hearing protection.

When you were a teenager and turned the radio up to full volume, you had little thought about how this could damage your health. You simply enjoyed the music.

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 impact.

You probably know differently now. Children as young as 12 can have permanent noise-induced hearing loss. But sound is so powerful it can even be used as a weapon.

Can You Get Sick From Sound?

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

How Health is Impacted by Loud Noise

The inner ear can be damaged by extremely loud sounds. You have little hairs that detect +
vibrations after they go through the eardrum membrane. 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 begin to cause lasting damage. It only takes 15 minutes for lasting damage to set in at 100 dB. At 120 dB, the volume of a rock concert, instantaneous, long-term damage will take place.

Cardiovascular wellness can also be impacted by noise. High blood pressure, clogged arteries, obesity, and other vascular problems can be the outcome of increased stress hormones induced by excessively loud noise. So when individuals who are subjected to loud noise complain about headaches and memory loss, this may explain why. Cardiovascular health is directly connected to these symptoms.

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 roughly the volume of a person with a quiet indoor voice.

How Sound Frequency Impacts Health

Cuban diplomats became sick after being subjected to certain sounds several years ago. The sound in Cuba wasn’t that loud. It could even be blocked out by a television. 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.

Have you ever cringed when somebody scraped their nails on a chalkboard? Have you ever pleaded with a co-worker to stop as they press their fingers across a folded piece of paper? Have you ever needed to cover your ears during a violin recital?

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

Studies have also discovered that damage can be done even if you can’t hear the sound. Damaging frequencies can come from lots of common devices like machinery, trains, sensors, etc.

Low Frequency

Extremely low-frequency sound known as “infrasound” can also affect your health. The vibrations can make you feel dizzy and physically ill. Some even get flashes of color and light that are common in migraine sufferers.

Safeguarding Your Hearing

Be aware of how you feel about certain sounds. Limit your exposure if particular sounds make you feel pain or other symptoms. Pain is often 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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