Five Consequences of Loud Sound on Your Health

· May 9, 2019
Keep your body away from loud sound and stressful stimuli to have a stronger immune system. Noise pollution can affect you not only physically, but also psychologically.

Noise pollution is everywhere. Although it seems harmless, loud speakers and overall exposure to other loud sound and high-volume music can have a negative impact on your quality of life. Therefore, you should be aware of how noise affects your well-being.

Every day we coexist with an excess of auditory stimuli.

But when does it begin to be harmful to our health?

Most of the time, noise is an unwanted factor that’s dangerous to health. An investigation carried out by several European organizations describes noise as “an emission of energy originated by a vibratory phenomenon. It’s detected by animal and human ears and generates a sensation of annoyance.” This sensation is experienced, above all, when the noise is alien to our context when we perceive it, or when we’re not used to it.

Essentially, the health risk begins when you feel any kind of discomfort, and this is because the volume is harmful.

A woman protecting her ears from loud sound.
Exposure to loud sound and noise pollution can lead to serious health problems.

Did you know? Try These Natural Remedies for Tinnitus

Noise: A Global Problem

Presently, noise is a public health level global environmental concern. This is so much so that one of the goals of the European Union for the year 2020 is to reduce noise pollution to levels approximating those recommended by the World Health Organization. (That is, to less than 85 dB for 8 hours a day during work hours.)

According to the World Health Organization, some of the acquired causes of deafness can be due to exposure to very loud sound in recreational activities such as bars, discos, concerts, and other music events. The use of audio devices at high volume for long periods of time also play a role. That’s why it’s so important to listen to music at the right volume.

However, the effects of noise and loud sound go far beyond deafness. In fact, these stimuli influence your physical and emotional well-being much more than you think. Below we’ll tell you more about the consequences of noise in your health.

Five Ways in which Loud Sound Affects Your Health

1. Hearing Loss

This is perhaps the most worrisome effect, although it’s not the only one. Occupational exposure to loud sounds and/or noise for long periods of time is one of the main causes of hearing loss. This occurs because the noise damages the sensory cells of your inner ear.

In turn, a loss of hearing may generate anxiety, depression, discrimination, decreased work and academic performance and even isolation, among other consequences. This is why it’s important not to subject your body to stressful stimuli.

2. Increased Sleep Disorders

A woman yawning in front of a computer.
Noise disturbs your sleep cycles.

Ambient noise is one of the main causes of sleep interruption. Its effects lead to insomnia and also keep you from resting properly as it alters your sleeping cycles.

When sleep interruption becomes chronic, it causes mood swings and impairs your concentration and performance. In addition, it has significant effects on your state of alertness.

3. It Affects Your Circulatory System

Being exposed everywhere to constant loud sounds increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. That is, it increases the chances of suffering from angina pectoris or myocardial infarction, and also of an increase in your blood pressure.

Audio levels above 65 decibels or acute exposures to higher than 80-85 dB can cause long-term cardiac problems. This happens because high volume acts as a biological stressor that causes the body to activate nerve hormones, increasing blood pressure and heart rate.

4. Loud Sound Leads to Stress and Make You Irritable

Stress is a response of your body to an external challenge. However, if it lasts a long time, then it affects your health. In turn, the stress caused by loud sounds is related to disorders of the endocrine and immune systems.

As side effects of this process, noise pollution affects learning and memory processes and interferes with your problem-solving abilities. In addition, it increases your irritability and aggression.

Read: How to Manage Stress Properly

5. It Alters Your Immune System

A woman covering her nose with a hanky.
Noise seriously affects your defenses.

The human immune system needs a lot of energy to function. However, stress generates a state of alert that takes a lot of energy from the body. When your body is subjected to chronic stress, then a kind of immunological slump is generated.

As you see, one thing leads to the other, because your immune system is affected and therefore weak. Then, it opens up to bacteria and viruses that enter your body and attack it. So, it’s easier for your body to contract viral diseases when it’s been under stress, including noise pollution.

How to Avoid the Effects of Loud Sound

Now that you know how much loud sound affects your health, it’s also important that you know how to reduce its effect in your body. Next, we’ll share some measures you can take to do so.

  • First, regardless of how much a particular song moves you, don’t listen to it at a high volume. In fact, never exceed 100 decibels when listening to music or watching TV. Your ears will thank you.
  • If you go to a concert, event or party, stay a few yards away from the speakers or any other source of loud sound.
  • Also, if you’re continuously exposed to loud sounds in the place where you live or in your work, then move away. If that’s not possible, then wear hearing protectors.
  • In addition, you should also stay away from loud appliances.
  • Finally, don’t listen to music with headphones for more than 60 minutes.

Follow these simple tips and you’ll maintain good hearing health. However, if you feel that your hearing is failing you, get advice from an ear, nose, and throat doctor so they can review your specific case.

  • Organización Mundial de la Salud. Sordera y pérdida de la audición. (2018) [Online] Available at: www.who.int/es/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/deafness-and-hearing-loss
  • Unión Europea, Observatorio de Salud y Medio Ambiente de Andalucía, Junta de Andalucía. Ruido y Salud. [Online] Available at: www.diba.cat/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=72b1d2fd-c5e5-4751-b071-8822dfdfdded&groupId=7294824