Home Tech Is Hearing Loss Caused by Your Cell Phone?

Is Hearing Loss Caused by Your Cell Phone?

written by Dominic Gomez April 2, 2018
Man listening to headphones that hurt his ears, leading to hearing loss

Recently, Juan Carlos Bagnell sat down with Dr. Alison Grimes. She is the director of Audiology and Newborn Hearing at UCLA to discuss the possible link between hearing loss and your cell phone. Just to be clear, this isn’t confined to just be your cell phone.

I currently deal with tinnitus. If you don’t know what tinnitus is, very basically it is a ringing in your ears. It’s not a condition on its own, but a symptom of one of a few underlying conditions – one of which is hearing loss. For me, it’s pretty obvious why I have tinnitus. I constantly listened to loud music on my Walkman when I was younger. Yes, I said Walkman. However, loud music might not be the only reason for hearing loss. There could be multiple reasons, such as growing older for example.

Due to the hearing loss I’ve experienced, one of my friends showed me a hearing impaired phone review the other day. These phones aren’t like the ones you’d listen to music on, they’re more like landlines but they are specifically designed for people who struggle to hear. This might make phone calls easier. It can be difficult to participate in everyday activities like phone calls and conversations due to the fear of not being able to hear properly. Thankfully though, there is technology available these days that can help, such as hearing aids and amplifiers.

Anyway, let’s take a look at a few of the questions that were brought up for Dr. Grimes. Keep in mind that her answers are her professional opinion and are in no way an actual diagnosis. These may not be full quotes, and I may paraphrase a bit.

Juan: Do you believe newer technologies such as noise reduction would contribute to a healthier listening experience? Or do you think they are exacerbating the duration at which people are listening?

Dr. Grimes: Yes, I think you hit the nail on the head because we can now stream all our media and phone calls. We can now walk around in an environment where you wouldn’t normally be listening to say just your music.

I would have never thought of it in this context, although it does make perfect sense. Nowadays, people aren’t just listening to music on their headphones. Podcasts, audiobooks, phone calls, music, movies, and games are all very easily accessible. They are more available than they were even 10-15 years ago.

Juan: It’s been my guess that one of the things that might be contributing is the rise of this style of ‘ear pod’ (Apple Air Pods). Which has a powerful driver, but creates no seal around the ear. I would feel this would cause me to turn the music up louder. Would that possibly make the situation worse?

Dr. Grimes: I think your theory is very good. Because they (AirPods) go into the ear canal and doesn’t fully seal, that would create the tendency to turn it up louder.

I think this is where my problem was born. Although I didn’t usually wear earbuds at the time, I did have to turn up the volume to drown out any outside noise. The full interview is a very good listen. I think we do keep our headphones on a lot more often than we used to. Previously, it was mostly held to just music. Now, we have a seemingly unlimited source of streaming audio. Do you believe you have suffered hearing loss or other problems due to your cell phone? Give us a shout in the comments!

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