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Posted on Thursday, November 20, 2014

Are Loud Sounds Addicting?

Just as the stars in the night sky are no longer clear on most places on Earth, quiet is no longer quiet. According to the BBC, researchers have learned that, "What we think of as pleasant background setting our forebears would consider exceptionally voluble." So what is all this silence invading noise doing to us? And can loud sounds become addicting?

Common sense would indicated that Titus Canyon, a path that leads into Death Valley, which boasts old mines and a ghost town, with no cars around and no people would be the one place where silence could be found. It's not. Planes and sounds from civilization find they were even into this remote area. The surprising fact that the silence that we know might not be silent means today's humans are more conditioned to noise.

The danger in becoming conditioned to sound is that a new threshold for what is loud quietly takes root. If silence is not silent then too loud is not too loud. In sports arenas, clubs, and even in the car people are turning up the volume and introducing a new and somewhat unique problem--addiction to sound.

When was the last time you drove in a car without sound? What did it feel like? Did it cause anxiety or a sense of missing something? Just as an average person might long for sound to make a car ride more enjoyable, someone addicted to sound craves noise to ease other aspects of their life. This is typically what is defined as addictive behavior. According to a self-proclamed addict to sound on Gearslutz, an addictive behavior includes:
1. Life without the substance seems unbearable
2. There is a feeling of not being in control
3. You experience withdrawel symptoms if you don't get the substance
4. Much time is spent arranging how to get the substance
5. Much money is spent on getting the substance
6. One sacrifices other areas of life (work, relationships, etc.) for the substance
7. You can never get enough of the substance

The response to this news might be, "But sound can't hurt you." That's not true. In an instant, sounds can damage your hearing permanently, as the video below explains.

People, businesses, and sporting events now turn up the volume on sound to the point where it becomes a physical feeling in the body. What effect is this having on the body and why is this enjoyment becoming so prevalent are questions now being asked. According to a recent study published in Audiology Research, "Traits of addictive-like behavior to loud music were detected more often in members of nonprofessional pop/rock bands than in control subjects."

Perhaps what is needed is an introduction to the dangerous effects of sound. People tend to see sound as harmless, not addictive, non-threatening. In reality, sound can have numerous impacts on the mind and body.

"Noise also affects our heart-rhythm and blood-pressure, and the way we behave towards one another. The louder the noise, the more aggressive we become." Addicted to Sound, BBC Online

Ask any manufacturer of sonic weapons. Sound can be destructive. So turn down the volume and learn to enjoy some quiet time.

If you'd like to learn more, see your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

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