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Enhanced Hearing Center - Springfield, MO

Man getting hearing loss from blowing leaves without hearing protection.

When you were a kid you most likely had no clue that turning the volume up on your music could result in health issues. You were just having a good time listening to your tunes.

As you got older, you may have indulged in nights out at loud concerts or the movies. It may even be normal for you to have experienced loud noise at work. Long term health problems were the furthest thing from your mind.

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

Can Sound Make You Sick?

Actually, it Can. It’s evident to scientists and doctors alike that specific sound can make you sick. Here’s why.

How Loud Sound Impacts Health

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

Over 85 dB of volume for an 8 hour period of time will start to cause long-term damage. It only takes 15 minutes for lasting damage to set in at 100 dB. A rock concert is around 120 decibels, which causes immediate, permanent damage.

Noises can also affect cardiovascular wellness. High blood pressure, clogged arteries, obesity, and other vascular concerns can be the result of elevated stress hormones induced by excessively loud noise. So when individuals who are subjected to loud noise complain about headaches and memory loss, this could explain why. Cardiovascular health is strongly connected to these symptoms.

In fact, one study showed that sound volumes that begin to impact the heart, and hormones are as low a 45 decibels. That’s about the volume of a person with a quiet inside voice.

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

Cuban diplomats got sick after being subjected to certain sounds several years ago. This sound wasn’t at a very high volume. They were able to block it out with a tv. So how could this kind of sound cause people to get sick?

The answer is frequency.

High Frequency

Even at lower volumes, considerable damage can be done by certain high-frequency sound.

Does the sound of nails on a chalkboard cause you to cringe? Have you ever pleaded with 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?

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

Research has also found that you don’t even have to be able to hear the sound. Harmful frequencies can come from many common devices such as machinery, trains, sensors, etc.

Low Frequency

Very low-frequency sound called “infrasound” can also affect your health. It can resonate the body in such a way that the person feels nauseated and dizzy. Some even get flashes of light and color that are typical in migraine sufferers.

How You Can Protect Your Hearing

Know how specific sounds make you feel. Reduce your exposure if particular sounds make you feel pain or other symptoms. Pain is typically a warning sign of damage.

In order to know how your hearing may be changing over time, contact a hearing specialist for an exam.

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