McDonald Hearing Services - Grand Rapids, MI

Man getting hearing loss from blowing leaves without hearing protection.

When you were younger you probably had no idea that cranking the volume up on your music could lead to health concerns. You just enjoyed the music.

As you got older, you may have indulged in nights out at loud movies and concerts. You might have even picked a career where loud noise is normal. Long term health concerns were the furthest thing from your mind.

You probably know differently today. Noise-induced hearing loss can show up in kids as young as 12. But sound is so powerful it can even be used as a weapon.

Can You Get Sick From Sound?

In fact, it Can. Particular sounds can evidently make you ill according to scientists and doctors. This is the reason why.

How Health is Affected by Loud Noise

The inner ear can be injured by very loud sounds. You have tiny hairs that detect +
vibrations after they go through the eardrum membrane. 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 lasting damage. It only takes 15 minutes for permanent damage to set in at 100 dB. At 120 dB, the volume of a rock concert, immediate, lasting damage will occur.

Cardiovascular wellness can also be impacted by noise. Subjection to loud noise can increase stress hormones, which can result in clogged arteries, obesity, high blood pressure, and more. So when people who are exposed to loud noise complain about headaches and memory loss, this may explain why. These are firmly linked to cardiovascular health.

Actually, one study confirmed that sound volumes that begin to impact the heart, and hormones are as low a 45 decibels. That’s approximately the volume of somebody with a quiet indoor voice.

How Sound Frequency Impacts Health

Cuban diplomats got sick after being exposed to certain sounds a few years ago. The sound in Cuba wasn’t very loud. They could drown it out with a television. How could it have made people sick?

The answer is frequency.

High Frequency

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

Does the sound of nails on a chalkboard make you cringe? Have you been driven crazy by someone continuously dragging their finger over 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 experienced pain from high-frequency sound. If you experienced this for an extended period of time, regularly exposed yourself to it, or were exposed at a high volume, then the damage might have become irreversible.

Research has also revealed that damage can happen even if you can’t hear the sound. Harmful frequencies can come from lots of common devices such as machinery, trains, sensors, etc.

Low Frequency

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

Safeguarding Your Hearing

Be aware of how you feel about certain sounds. Limit your exposure if specific sounds make you feel pain or other symptoms. If you’re experiencing pain in your ears, you’re most likely doing damage.

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

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