EMF Health-effects Research

Electromagnetic interference of bone-anchored hearing aids by cellular phones.

Kompis M, Negri S, Hausler R

Acta Otolaryngol 120(7):855-859, 2001

We report a case of electromagnetic interference between a bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA) and a cellular phone. A 54-year-old women was successfully treated for severe mixed conductive and sensorineural hearing loss with a BAHA. Five years after implantation, the patient experienced a sudden feeling of dizziness, accompanied by a loud buzzing sound and by a sensation of head pressure while examining a digital mobile phone.

During a subsequent experiment, the buzzing sound could be reproduced and was identified as electromagnetic interference between the BAHA and digital cellular phones. Seventeen adult BAHA users from our clinic participated in a subsequent survey. Of the 13 patients with some experience of digital cellular phones, 11 reported hearing annoying noises elicited by these devices. However, no other sensation, such as dizziness, was described.

Owing to the increasing number of users of both hearing aids and cellular phones, the incidence of electromagnetic interference must be expected to increase as well. Although to date there is no evidence that such interference may be harmful or dangerous to users of conventional or bone-anchored hearing aids, unexpected interference can be a frightening experience.

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