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Mobile phones get on your (ear) nerves

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Guess what? Mobile phones cause nerve damage to your ears. They also heat the skin.

The latest findings come from two research groups - one in the UK and one in Australia.

The UK study looked at the physiological changes during a 30-minute conversation on a cell phone.
Researchers found that after just six minutes the temperature of the skin near the phone had risen by 2.3 degrees, and the flow of air through the nose had changed on the side closest to the phone.

The good news is that the researchers reckon the use of a hands-free kit can reduce our exposure to the heating, and so reduce symptoms. They acknowledge that the long-term implications for health are unclear.

The Australians cite the case of a man who had nerve damage to the side of his head, which they could not find the root of, even after a brain scan. They found that he had a marked difference in response on one side of his head, and suffered pain after using a phone for an hour on two consecutive days.

The leader of the research group, Dr Peter Hocking, said the unilateral nature of the damage indicated that a cell phone had caused the damage rather than there being a traceable medical problem. He said: "This is the first time I am aware of that there has been a clear demonstration of a health effect in humans."

So, hands-free kits and look like a victim of "care in the community", or get nerve damage in the ear? Tough call, we'd go for the looking stupid option any day. ®

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