Article Type

Original Study


Objectives The aim of this study was to assess the potential changes in human hearing function as a consequence of exposure to electromagnetic fields produced by mobile phones through a review of in-vivo and in-vitro published studies. Data sources Medline databases (PubMed, Medscape, ScienceDirect and EMF-Portal) and all materials available in the internet from 2003 to 2012. Study selection The initial search presented 170 articles, of which 44 met the inclusion criteria. The articles studied the relation between mobile phones, the auditory system and genotoxicity. Data extraction If the studies did not fulfill the inclusion criteria, they were excluded. Study quality assessment included whether ethical approval was obtained, whether the eligibility criteria were specified, and whether appropriate controls, adequate information and defined assessment measures were included. Data synthesis Comparisons were made by a structured review with the results tabulated. Findings In total, 44 potentially relevant publications were included: 32 were human and 12 were animal studies. The studies do not indicate an association between any problem related to the auditory system and short-term exposure of mobile phone radiations, whereas long-term use of mobile phones may lead to high-frequency hearing loss. Studies concerning mobile phone radiation and the risk of acoustic neuroma have controversial results. Some authors did not notice evidences of a higher risk of tumour development in mobile phone users, whereas others report that usage of analog cellular phones for 10 or more years increases the risk of developing the tumour. Conclusion We found no overall increased risk of hearing problems among short-term cellular phone users, whereas long-term use of mobile phones may lead to high-frequency hearing loss and an increased risk of acoustic neuroma after 10 years of mobile phone use. The potential elevated risk of brain tumours after long-term cellular phone use awaits confirmation by future studies