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Cell Phone Linked with Tinnitus, Researchers Say

Austrian researchers revealed that regular cell phone use could cause persistent ear ringing. But one ear specialist said the study is “very weak” in proving the connection between tinnitus and cell phone use. Tinnitus is an ear condition characterized by persistent ringing.

 

Dr. Hans-Peter Hutter, from the Institute of Environmental Health at the Medical University of Vienna, advised that “high intensity, long duration of mobile phone use might be associated with occurrence of tinnitus. Therefore, we are recommending a far more conscious and cautious way of using mobile phones.”

 

The researchers also announced that tinnitus affects at least 10 percent of the world’s population and is increasing. For sufferers, they may hear ringing, roaring or hissing sounds.

 

For this study, Dr. Hutter and his colleagues observed 100 individuals with tinnitus and another 100 without it. Thereafter, the team asked the participants as to their cell phone use. The results revealed that those who use their phones at least ten minutes every day were likely to develop tinnitus by a margin of 71 percent.

 

Tinnitus generally affects only one ear. This coincided with the study’s results, indicating that 38 percent of the participants experienced ringing in their left ear. In addition, 29 percent of them reported experiencing dizziness.

 

The researchers hypothesized that the cell phone’s microwave energy, which is absorbed by the inner ear’s cochlea, is causing the tinnitus.

 

But Dr. Thomas J. Balkany contradicted these findings. “The data are very weak. [The study authors] haven't looked into the common causes of tinnitus in the kind of detail that would be necessary. These include stress and anxiety and depression [and] the huge impact of MP3 players,” the director of the University of Miami Ear Institute argued.

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