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Prolonged cell phone use could damage your hearing
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September 24, 2007

Talking on mobile for an hour a day can trigger hearing loss.

An Indian ear, nose and throat specialist has cautioned that using a cellular phone for more than an hour a day can be damaging for a person's hearing ability.

Dr Naresh Panda issued the warning at an ear, nose and throat conference in the US last week.

He revealed that a study had shown that people who talk on mobile phones for longer than one hour a day find it hard to differentiate between words beginning with the letters s, f, h, t and z.

During the course of study, a comparison of the hearing abilities of 100 mobile phone users, aged between 18 and 25, and 50 others who did not use the device was carried out.

The researchers found that long-term regular usage of mobile phones was associated with hearing loss. It was found that people who used their mobile for more than an hour a day for more than four years tended to find it harder to distinguish sounds, they add.

Furthermore, the problem was particularly noticed in the right ear to which most people hold their phone.

The researchers say that people whose ability to hear the letters s, f, h, t and z had got diminished would find it hard to distinguish between words such as hill, fill and till.

Dr Panda said that that the hearing problem among the study subjects could be a possible result of damages to the inner ear caused by a long-term exposure to the radiation emitted from mobiles.

Speaking at the American Academy of Otolaryngology's annual conference, he said that early warning signs might include a warm feeling in the ear, ringing in the ear or a feeling it is clogged up.

Since the research involved a small number of people, Dr Panda believes that further research is needed confirm the link between long-term regular usage of mobile phones and hearing loss.

"Our intention is not to scare the public. We need to study a larger number of patients," he said.

He, however, stressed the need for educating people that they should use cell phones only when they are most needed.

"We should educate the public only to use them when necessary," he said.

The Mobile Operators Association, which represents Britain's mobile phone companies, said that independent scientific reviews carried out in the UK and around the world had "consistently concluded that the weight of scientific evidence to date suggests that exposure to radiowaves from mobile phone handsets and base stations does not cause adverse health effects."

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