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Hello, can you hear me?


People using mobile phones and for more than three years and for more than 30 minutes a day, particularly at high speech frequencies, are at a higher risk of developing hearing problems.

Longer the duration of usage per day, higher the risk, according to a study conducted by the Department of ENT and Physiology, Dr. B R Ambedkar Medical College, in the city.

Study

The study taken up by N. Kailash, Head of the Department of ENT, and P.A. Balaji, Assistant Professor in the Department of Physiology, revealed that hearing problems were more in the dominant ear (ear of use) among the study sample comprising 300 long-term mobile phone users from in and around Bangalore.

“Frequent headaches, a feeling of fullness in the ears and warming up of the ears along with difficulty in hearing are warning signals, which should not be ignored,” Dr. Balaji says.

The six-month study conducted between April 2010 and September 2010 was aimed at assessing if long-term mobile phone use had any adverse effects on hearing. Auditory acuity was evaluated in 300 people using mobile phones (GSM handsets) and 100 people who did not use mobiles. All the 400 were aged between 18 and 50.

Mobile phone handsets emit radiations (electromagnetic fields) that have a propensity to cause health problems. This had raised the question of whether mobile phone usage had any detrimental effect on hearing, he said.

So does the study suggest that people should stop using mobile phones?

“No, we cannot say that. We are only saying that people should use hands-free devices and other protective devices, such as earphones. Conversations on mobile phones should be short and people should get audiological screening done at least once in six months,” Dr Kailash added.

AFSHAN YASMEEN

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