Noise is not just a nuisance. Long term exposure to noise can have lasting adverse effects on the body. Noise-induced hearing impairment can be seen in kids as young as twelve years of age. Sound is so powerful it has even been used as a weapon.
Can People Get Ill From Sound?
As a matter of fact, noise can make you sick. According to doctors and scientists, certain sounds can definitely make you ill.
How Loud Sounds Affect Health
Very loud sounds are capable of causing injury to the inner ear. There are tiny hairs which detect vibrations after they go through the eardrum membrane. These hairs are incapable of regeneration once destroyed. Many people deal with sensorineural hearing loss as they age due to this. Harmful noise starts at 85 decibels and can have severe detrimental effects when listened to for over 8 hours. If exposed to over a hundred decibels, lasting damage can occur within 15 minutes. At the volume of a rock concert, which is about 120 dB, immediate, irreversible hearing impairment can occur.
Noise can also affect cardiovascular health. Prolonged exposure to such loud sounds can lead to an increase in stress hormones, resulting in obesity, clogged arteries, high blood pressure, and several other vascular issues. This explains the headaches and memory issues that patients exposed to prolonged noise complain about. These symptoms can be a direct result of declining cardiovascular health.
How Sound Frequency Impacts Health
People have reported becoming sick after being subjected to certain sounds over the course of several years, even though these sounds were not at a very loud volume. So this means that loudness is not the only reason for hearing issues. Frequency plays a vital part in it as well.
Even at a lower volume, a lot of harm can be caused by certain high-frequency sounds. Hearing is being affected if the person feels pain from the high-pitched sound. If exposed to this for an extended period of time, or were exposed to it at a high volume, then the damage caused may become permanent. Research has also found that people don’t even have to be able to hear the sound to cause hearing damage. All sorts of damaging frequencies can come from common devices in and around a person’s surroundings such as trains, machinery, sensors etc.
Health can also be impacted by infrasonic sound, which is low-frequency sound below 20Hz. It can affect the body in such a way that the person can feel disoriented and nauseated. Some people even report getting flashes of colour and light which are common in migraine sufferers.
How To Safeguard Your Hearing
Recognize how certain sounds can make you feel. Minimize exposure if these sounds make you feel pain or similar symptoms. Pain is a warning sign of damage.