Hearing Problems Linked to Extensive Cell Phone Use?

Cell phone hearing

No matter where you go during the day, you hear cell phones ringing and people chatting with their friends to catch up on the latest news. Or, you might find them texting, searching the Internet or playing games. With more than 285 million Americans subscribing to mobile services, cell phones have become a vital part of our lives.

Although mobile car phones were introduced in the 1960s, it took another 13 years before hand-held phones were developed. As with all new technology, throughout the years medical professionals have wondered if continuous cell phone use could result in health concerns.

A research study published in 2010 in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, an international publication by the British Medical Journal, identified a possible link between regular cell phone use and the risk of developing chronic tinnitus, which is a persistent ringing, roaring or hissing sound in the ear.

The number of individuals with chronic tinnitus has increased globally, with at least 10 to 15 percent of individuals reporting a ringing sound or other noises in their ears. Tinnitus can be caused by ear disorders or head trauma, but the number of individuals experiencing these concerns does not match up with the rising trend.

The research study indicated that 37 percent of individuals with tinnitus also had previously used a cell phone. And for those who had talked on the phone for at least 10 minutes each day, 71 percent were more likely to have the condition.

Extended daily cell phone use also may result in high-frequency hearing loss. In another study presented to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, individuals who talked on the cell phones for more than 60 minutes daily were more likely to experience problems hearing words with the consonants f, s, t and z.

While more extensive research is needed to make a definite link between cell phone use and the development of tinnitus or high-frequency hearing loss, the studies remind cell phone users to be vigilant to protect their hearing and schedule regular hearing evaluations to identify any concerns.

How often do you use your cell phone each day? Have you noticed any changes in your hearing? – Karen Gustin, Ameritas Group