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Hearing & Balance Doctors is currently open. We are taking special measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including offering a curbside service for hearing aids. Please call 435-688-8991 for more information. Utah: 435-688-8991 | Nevada: 702-896-0031
Hearing & Balance Doctors is currently open. We are taking special measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including offering a curbside service for hearing aids. Please call 435-688-8991 for more information. Utah: 435-688-8991 | Nevada: 702-896-0031

Why Do Certain Sounds Make You Feel Sick?


Have you ever noticed that certain sounds cause you discomfort? You didn’t imagine it — certain sounds can make you feel sick. From dizziness to nausea, different sound frequencies can make you feel uncomfortable.

The Hearing & Balance Doctors are here to help you understand why this happens and what you can do to avoid feeling vertigo, dizziness, or nausea when exposed to loud or low-frequency noises.

Types of sounds

The intensity of sound is measured in decibels (dB), and its frequency is measured in Herts (Hz). Frequency refers to the length of time that the sound wave occurs per second. The human ear detects sounds online within a certain range of the scale, most commonly between the 20Hz and 20,000Hz range.

Any sound that is below or above that threshold often goes unheard by the human ear.

Ultrasonic Sound

Any sound frequency that is above the average range of hearing is classified as an ultrasonic sound. An example of this is a dog whistle that the human ear cannot detect, but an animal would.

Infrasonic Sound

Sounds that have a frequency below 20Hz are known as infrasonic sounds. Infrasonic sounds can be both human-made and naturally occurring. When experienced at high intensities, infrasonic sounds can cause an individual to experience headaches, dizziness, and nausea. Low-level sounds have also been linked to increased stressed and risk for heart problems.

What is superior or semicircular canal dehiscence?

A condition known as superior or semicircular canal dehiscence can cause a patient to experience vertigo or imbalance when triggered by a loud noise or pressure in their ears. Vertigo and dizziness happen because of an opening in the individual’s bone overlying the inner ear balance canal. This opening in the bone can result from improper development, an infectious disease, or trauma to the ear.

If a patient is diagnosed with this syndrome, they need to be aware of their surroundings and prevent exposure to noises that can trigger the reaction. Loud noises are the trigger. So those with superior or semicircular canal dehiscence must be mindful when attending noisy places like concerts or sporting events, excessively loud televisions or music, and more.

But sounds aren’t the only culprit — pressure in the ear can cause vertigo as well. This can happen if something is pressing against the outside of the ear, such as a pillow if the patient is a side sleeper. Other instances of pressure change could be from the individual pinching their nostrils and blowing through their nose or straining while carrying something heavy.

Along with experiencing the sense of vertigo and dizziness with loud noises or pressure, those with this condition may also experience similar sensations of unsteadiness when going about their everyday routines.

Call the Hearing & Balance Doctors for an Appointment

While there is a clear connection between sounds causing feelings of dizziness and nausea, more research needs to be done to understand the full extent of the connection. If you find yourself feeling sick after being exposed to certain sounds, you need to get looked at by an audiologist.

Leaving the problem untreated can lead to more problems down the line — and puts your safety at risk. During your appointment, our highly trained team will perform a diagnostic hearing evaluation to determine the best treatment plan to help you hear the world around you more comfortably (without feeling vertigo, dizziness, or nausea!).

Contact the experienced team at Hearing & Balance Doctors to schedule an appointment for a diagnostic hearing evaluation in St George, Utah.

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