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Cell Phones And Tinnitus: Is There A Connection?

Tinnitus always felt to me like a disease that only the elderly get, I remember when I was at school my elderly (he was probably about my age!) woodwork teacher was off work for weeks with it.  You can contract tinnitus at any age, and now it seems if you are a regular cell phone user the chances of getting this condition are much higher.

What is Tinnitus?

It’s an auditory condition, sufferer’s are typically bombarded with an orchestra of ringing, buzzing, wailing or sounds that mimic far-off human voices.  It can be only a faint, background disturbance, or it can so overwhelm the hearing that the person will almost be deaf to normal noise – sounds like something out of the movie “A Nightmare on Elm Street”, I know.  These sounds exist only in the ears of the person who has tinnitus, they are not external noises.  Tinnitus can be caused by many different things, such as heavy aspirin use, a blow to the head, antibiotics, or ear infections. That much is known, but can a cell phone cause tinnitus?

When a cell phone is being used, it is generally held right up against the ear, exposing the auditory nerve to electromagnetic radiation.  It does not even take prolonged cell phone use to induce tinnitus, either, a short ten minute call every day can be enough to trigger this uncomfortable condition.

The Science

A recent study [1] shows that cell phone use can raise the possibility of developing tinnitus by 71%, yes I said 71%!

Although researchers are still uncertain why cell phone use causes tinnitus, they believe that the problem lies with the cochlea.  The cochlea is located in our inner ear and is a fluid-filled organ that transmits sound to the brain.  There are tiny hairs lining the cochlea which help to change the sound vibrations entering the cochlea into electrical signals that will be sent on to the brain.  These hairs are very delicate, and it is damage to these hairs that can contribute to tinnitus. It is quite likely that the waves of electromagnetic radiation when the cell phone is pressed to the ear will cause damage to those delicate hairs, which can then cause tinnitus.

But tinnitus is not the only problem. Click here to see thousands of studies on cell phone hearing loss [2].

Professor Belpomme’s research has found that Tinnitus is a primary symptom in EHS sufferers [3].

I know its asking a lot to give up your cell phone, but there things you can do to protect yourself. Practicing a few simple procedures while using your cell phone can help to protect you and your family from tinnitus [4].  While certainly not life-threatening, tinnitus can be an annoying, persistent condition that can cause irritability, insomnia, and panic attacks, and severely reduce the quality of life of people suffering from it.