You know loud noise levels are bad for your ears, but did you know the health risks don’t stop there?
It turns out that exposure to loud sounds affects different aspects of our health in a number of surprising ways. Being exposed to noise levels of 85 decibels or more over eight hours may cause hearing loss, while exposure to 100 decibels can cause permanent damage after just 15 minutes. A typical conversation is about 50 decibels.
Hearing Associates in Mason City, Iowa reminds you that loud noises are bad for our health in general in the following ways:
- Can worsen depression and anxiety: One study found that noise (unwanted sound) was linked to a 200% increase in the risk for depression and anxiety in adults. Further, excessive noise may cause permanent hearing loss, which also doubles a person’s risk of mental health problems if left untreated.
- Tied to heart attacks: About 3% of heart attacks are directly connected to exposure to loud environmental sound, according to a German study. This connection is due to the fact that sounds can contribute to an irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure, health conditions that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
- Slows the healing process: Most of us sleep better when we’re not exposed to loud sounds. A study by the World Health Organization (WHO) discovered that hospital patients in earshot of common hospital noises such as various machines, alarms, buzzers, people talking loudly on the other side of the room in double occupancy rooms and loud TVs took longer to heal. Part of this phenomenon may be due to the fact these patients didn’t sleep as well – sleep is an important part of the healing process.
- Hidden costs of healthcare: Another WHO study found a significant link between exposure to noise and increased healthcare costs. People exposed to more noise tended to take more sick days; have difficulty learning new things; sought out medical treatment more often; and were less productive at work.
- Can lead to dementia: Those with severe hearing loss are up to five times more likely to develop dementia than those with normal hearing, according to a study by Johns Hopkins researchers. Individuals with mild hearing loss were twice as likely to develop dementia. If treated with hearing loss, the risk was equal to someone with typical hearing.