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Using your mobile over an hour a day can harm hearing
London Evening Standard
By: John Mayer
09/21/07

Using a mobile phone for more than hour a day could damage hearing, experts have warned.

Research shows that those who regularly use their mobile for longer than an hour a day find it harder to hear - with words starting with the letters s, f, h, t and z proving particularly troublesome.

The study, presented to an ear, nose and throat conference in the U.S. this week, comes as mobile phone use in Britain soars to record levels.

There are 70 million handsets in use in the UK, which are used to make a third of all calls.

The latest research compared the hearing of 100 mobile phone users aged between 18 and 25 with that of 50 others who did not use mobiles.

This showed a link between longterm regular usage and hearing loss, with those who used their mobile for more than an hour a day for more than four years tending to find it harder to distinguish sounds.

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

High-frequency sounds, such as those made by the letters s, f, h, t and z, were most likely to pose a difficulty, making it hard to distinguish between words such as hill, fill and till.

Researcher Dr Naresh Panda said it is possible radiation from longterm mobile use damages the inner ear.

Early warning signs may include a warm feeling in the ear, ringing in the ear or a feeling it is clogged up, the American Academy of Otolaryngology's annual conference heard.

Dr Panda, a ear, nose and throat specialist from India, said the small number of people studied means more research is needed to confirm the link.

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

However, the researcher, who owns a mobile but uses it sparingly, urged caution.

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