Cell Phone Use Linked to Tinnitus

The risk of developing <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/diseases">tinnitus—chronic ringing in the ears—appears to be increased with ongoing cellular phone use. The finding was based on a study just published in Occupational & Environmental Medicine, a BMJ Publishing Group journal.

The study found that Austrian patients using their cellular telephones for about 10 minutes daily experienced a 71-percent increased risk for the condition, said TwinCities.com. About 50 million Americans suffer from ringing, buzzing, and so-called phantom noises in one or both ears, said the American Tinnitus Association, wrote TwinCities.com, which noted that there is no cure for tinnitus, which can affect sleep, work, and concentration.

“Because tinnitus affects quality of life and current therapeutic interventions have limited effectiveness, assessment of potential risk factors and their prevention should be a public health priority,” Hans-Peter Hutter, a researcher at the Institute of Environmental Health at the University of Vienna, and other authors wrote, quoted TwinCitites.com.

The study also revealed that regular cell phone use for at least a four-year period was linked to a two-fold risk of developing chronic tinnitus, which is accompanied with symptoms lasting at least three months, reported TwinCities.com.

The research team looked at 100 chronic tinnitus patients, comparing them against 100 random participants without tinnitus, over one year, according to BMJ, wrote TwinCities.com. The groups were matched for age and gender, with those suffering from ear disease; impaired hearing as a result of noise or high blood pressure; and those taking medication for tinnitus, excluded, said TwinCities.com. Most participants used cellular telephones.

TwinCities.com explained that some 12 million Americans seek medical help for tinnitus, citing the American Tinnitus Association. While hearing aids, drugs, and electronic masking devices can be used to minimize symptoms, causes appear to be linked to medications; noises; and medical issues including allergies, tumors, cardiac issues, and other hearing loss types, said TwinCities.com. The research noted that tinnitus reports are increasing.

Meanwhile, there have been countless studies conducted on links between cell phone usage and cancer, with seemingly conflicting results. Although, Reuters recently reported that results point more to research confusion, with some blaming how research is conducted.

This October we wrote that a preliminary analysis of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) groundbreaking Interphone study found a “significantly increased risk” of some brain tumors “related to use of mobile phones for a period of 10 years or more.” While the study was not definitive, and limited because it depended on subjects’ memories to determine cell phone use frequency, preliminary findings caused concern.

In 2008, we wrote that the head of one of the country’s top cancer centers warned his staff that cell phones could be dangerous to their health. Dr. Ronald B. Herberman, the director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and UPMC Cancer Centers, issued an internal advisory memo to about 3,000 faculty and staff members advising them to take precautions to avoid the possible cancer risks of cell phones.

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