Audiology Associates of North Florida - Tallahassee, FL

Man getting hearing loss from blowing leaves without hearing protection.

When you were 16 and cranked up the radio to full volume, you weren’t thinking about how this might affect your health. You simply enjoyed the music.

You had fun when you were growing up, going to the movies and loud concerts. It might even be common for you to have experienced loud noise at work. Long term health concerns were the furthest thing from your mind.

Now that you’re older and more mature, you probably know better. Noise-induced hearing loss can appear in kids as young as 12. But did you know that sound is so formidable that it can even be used as a weapon?

Can You Get Ill From Sound?

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

How Health is Impacted by Loud Noise

Extremely loud sounds damage the inner ear. You have little hairs that pick up +
vibrations after they pass through the membrane of the eardrum. These hairs never grow back once they are destroyed. Many people, as they age, deal with sensorineural hearing loss caused by this.

Over 85 dB of volume for an 8 hour period will begin to cause lasting damage. If you’re subjected to over 100 dB, long-term impairment takes place within 15 minutes. At 120 dB, the volume of a rock concert, instantaneous, lasting damage will occur.

Noises can also impact cardiovascular health. High blood pressure, clogged arteries, obesity, and other vascular concerns can be the consequence of increased stress hormones brought on by excessively loud noise. This might explain the headaches and memory issues that people subjected to loud noise complain about. Cardiovascular health is strongly related to these symptoms.

As a matter of fact, one study confirmed that sound volumes that start to affect the heart, and hormones are as low a 45 decibels. That’s roughly the volume of a person with a quiet inside voice.

Your Health is Affected by Some Sound Frequencies – Here’s How

Several years ago, diplomats in Cuba became sick when subjected to sounds. This sound wasn’t at a really high volume. It could even be drowned out by a television. So how could this kind of sound make people sick?

The answer is frequency.

High Frequency

Even at lower volumes, significant harm can be done by some high-frequency sound.

Does the sound of nails on a chalkboard make you cringe? Have you ever pleaded with a co-worker to stop as they run their fingers over a folded piece of paper? Have you ever needed to plug your ears during a violin recital?

If you’ve felt the force of high-frequency sounds, the pain you felt was in fact damage happening to your hearing. If you experienced this for a time, frequently exposed yourself to it, or were exposed at a high volume, then the damage could have become permanent.

Studies have also discovered that you don’t even need to be able to hear the sound. High-frequency sounds emanating from sensors, trains, machinery, and other man-made devices may be emitting frequencies that do damage with prolonged exposure.

Low Frequency

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

Protecting Your Hearing

Recognize how certain sounds make you feel. Limit your exposure if certain sounds make you feel pain or other symptoms. If you’re experiencing pain in your ears, you’re probably doing damage.

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

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