Can Cell Phones Cause Hearing Loss?
Cell phones are wonderfully convenient in modern life, allowing us to stay in touch with loved ones near and far. But even a moderate amount of cell phone usage can cause high frequency hearing loss, leading to a lifetime of inconvenience.
What Is High-Frequency Hearing Loss?
High frequency hearing loss causes a specific loss of hearing in the higher frequency ranges of sounds. People affected by this type of hearing loss can hear vowels, but cannot hear the consonants F, S, T, and Z. It also affects the ability to hear higher octave sounds like a woman or child’s voice, or birds chirping. Other symptoms such as a warm sensation, fullness, and ringing in the ears are also associated with high frequency hearing loss.
How Is It Caused?
People who use their cell phones for over an hour daily over a period of more than four years are most likely to have high frequency hearing loss. Periods of less than four years can still cause damage, however. One study showed that four-year users had an average loss of 24.54 decibels, but one to two-year users still had a fairly high 16.48-decibel loss. Exposure to loud noises over a prolonged period of time also causes high frequency hearing loss. Both of these activities cause hearing loss by damaging cells in the ear.
Hearing loss occurs when sensory hearings cells in your cochlea die or are damaged by radiofrequency energy from cell phones or excessive noise. These cells can no longer translate the sounds you hear into messages your brain can recognize. Because high-frequency sounds are interpreted in the lower part of the cochlea, hearing is usually damaged in the higher frequencies first, leading to an inability to discern those sounds, including consonants and high octaves, in speech.
How To Protect Yourself
Lower your risk of acquiring cell phone-related hearing loss by:
- Limiting your cell phone use and keep calls as short as possible;
- Using a Bluetooth headset, earphones, or speakerphone instead of holding the phone up to your ear to talk;
- Texting or emailing to avoid unnecessary conversations; and
- Protecting your ears in other loud environments by using earplugs and limiting the volume on your music devices.
Need More Information?
If you are experiencing cell phone-related hearing loss, let the experienced attorneys at Frasier, Frasier & Hickman, LLP help you determine your options. Call 918-548-4724 or contact us online for answers to all of your cell phone injury questions today.