Tinnitus is among the more mysterious conditions that Americans are grappling with these days. It has no cure, and there are no prescription drugs approved for it. Treatments offer varying degrees of relief.
Perhaps we would be better able to treat tinnitus if we knew what caused it. Unfortunately, many causes of tinnitus aren’t adequately researched, such as the potential link between cell phones and tinnitus.
Cell Phone Use and Tinnitus
Two studies focused specifically on the potential link between cell phones and tinnitus have come to opposite conclusions on this question.
The first study found no connection between tinnitus and cell phone use. Of course, this study just surveyed people about their cell phone use and tinnitus, and it seemed mostly to be focused on the impact of sound. The researchers noted that most of their subjects preferred to text rather than talk, which may have reduced the impact of the phone on the ear.
The second study actually looked at people with tinnitus (clinically determined), and matched them with age controls who didn’t have tinnitus. This study did find that prolonged use of cell phones could lead to increased tinnitus risk. Specifically, using a cell phone for four years or more nearly doubled tinnitus risk, and using a cell phone for 10 minutes or more a day–which probably means 99%+ of San Diegans–could lead to a 71% higher risk of tinnitus.
In this study, researchers didn’t like the increase in tinnitus to sound at all. Instead, they were looking at the role of electromagnetic radiation on the cochlea.
Is This a Real Effect?
Okay, so maybe so, maybe not. The problem is, we can’t really compare these two studies, and it must be noted that although another study links electromagnetic sensitivity to tinnitus, it couldn’t make a connection with any specific radiation sources, including cell phones.
It’s possible this is just because the study was too small and lacked statistical power, but it’s also possible there’s no connection–we just don’t know.
There Is One Thing We Do Know
Although there are many unknowns when it comes to tinnitus, one thing we do know is that TMJ can lead to tinnitus, and that many–although not all–people with tinnitus benefit from TMJ treatment.
If you are having trouble getting relief from your tinnitus, we can help. Please call (619) 299-5925 for an appointment with a San Diego TMJ dentist at Strober Dental today.