While we know loud noises aren’t good for our hearing, we may not realize the toll it can take on other aspects of our health.
What qualifies as “loud?”
One thing to keep in mind: A typical conversation is about 50 decibels. Being exposed to sounds of 85 decibels for eight hours can cause permanent hearing loss. Louder levels can cause hearing loss more quickly: 100 decibels only take 15 minutes to cause damage; 110 decibels can cause permanent impairment immediately.
Audiology & Hearing Aid Center Arizona in Scottsdale offers the following information about the effects these sound levels can have on our bodies and lives:
- Increases healthcare costs: It turns out excessive noise can affect our wallets as well as our health. A study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that loud noise causes people to make more trips to the doctor’s office, call in sick from work more often, be less productive at their jobs, and have difficulty learning things.
- Tied to mental health problems: Studies have discovered that loud sounds can increase a person’s risk of experiencing depression and anxiety by up to 200%. Exposure to noise increases the risk of hearing loss, which doubles one’s risk of mental health issues if left untreated.
- Takes longer to heal: Another WHO study discovered that even in hospitals, patients exposed to the noise of heart monitors, loud TVs, alarms and people talking loudly can delay their recovery. These sounds can reach noise levels of 95 decibels, loud enough to cause hearing loss over an extended time.
- Bad for the heart: A study from Germany found that 3% of heart attacks are tied directly to regular exposure to noise, which increases blood pressure and causes an irregular heartbeat. Noise at nighttime can disrupt sleep and increase stress hormones, which makes the heart work harder.
- May lead to dementia: Did you know that severe hearing loss can make you five times more likely to develop dementia than someone with normal hearing? A study from Johns Hopkins found that even those with mild hearing loss were twice as likely to develop dementia. Fortunately, treating the impairment with hearing aids cuts the risk to that of someone with normal hearing.
- Can hurt your voice: Half of all teachers have permanent damage to their vocal cords due to years of trying to speak over loud classrooms, according to a study in the Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing.