Can Landlines Damage Your Hearing?

Can landlines damage your hearing? We look at whether cell phones or landlines cause greater damage to your hearing


While cell phone usage has risen dramatically over the last 20 years, landlines have slowly phased out. But as know from talking to dozens of customers on a daily basis, many seniors still use landlines. Is it possible for landlines to damage your hearing? We explore whether this rumor has any merit or not.

Let’s Talk About Landlines Being Bad for Hearing

A couple of things can cause our hearing to be substandard. These causes are:

  • A genetic defect
  • A physical trauma
  • Infection or disease
  • A very loud noise
  • Regular loud sounds
  • The aging process

It seems logical that loud sounds over landlines can cause hearing loss at first glance. However, the person receiving the call would be in control of the situation. They can either terminate the conversation or turn down the volume. Unless they want to deafen themselves, this seems unlikely to be a runner.

But wait, aren’t we dealing with technology here, and technology can do strange things? New York Times says a bolt of lightning striking a telephone wire can send an electrical surge directly to the handset. There have been cases where people have died. Science How Stuff Works says this could theoretically damage their hearing too.

So I Am Safe With a Cellphone in a Storm?

Yes, in a narrow sense, because there’s no physical wire for lightening to strike. However, cell phones may cause hearing loss in other ways according to University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). In fact, talking on a cell phone anywhere, anytime can damage hearing permanently, they say.

High Frequency Hearing Loss Among Cellphone Users

Age related hearing loss affects reception of high frequency sounds on the human conversation spectrum. Therefore it follows we need be more protective of our hearing at that level. Researchers at University of Malaya at Kula Lumpur investigated whether talking on a cellphone was bad for hearing.

The research was blind, in that the researchers did know their subjects’ dominant ears they were likely to use for their phones. Their study showed significant loss in the dominant ear compared to the non-dominant one, with 95% probability. And this was most likely to be high frequency hearing loss.

Their report concluded as follows:

  • Mobile phones incline their users to high frequency hearing loss in their dominant ears.
  • Duration of daily use, and years with cellphones correlate with the degree of this deterioration.
  • This hearing loss occurs at higher frequencies than standard audiograms measure.

Let’s Talk About How Cellphones Could Damage Your Hearing

To set your mind at rest, cellphones do not make us deaf. It’s more a matter of everything in moderation according to University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences health line, although this may run counter to our preferred lifestyle.

It’s great to use them as our lifeline to the rest of the world. However, UAMS Health believes we should limit their sound-based use to one hour per day. For if we do not, we may find those high frequency calls increasingly difficult to understand.

And finally, listeners to cellphone music through headphones should remember to keep the volume moderate. That’s because loud continuous sound permanently damages the sound receptors in our cochlea, and we could also develop tinnitus ringing in the ears.

Preventative Measures for Cell Phone Hearing Damage

Listening on a speaker phone while using hands free may reduce the likelihood of hearing damage, because this increases the distance of the loudspeaker from our ears. Taking a cellphone call on a fixed line may be safer, because the technology uses lower frequencies

UAMS confirms personal listening devices can cause temporary changes to hearing thresholds. However, repeated exposure to loud music may make the damage permanent, resulting in mild to moderate hearing loss.

Cellphones May Have Caused my Hearing Loss. What Now?

Third generation cellular phone networks went viral in the past ten to fifteen years, and saw off more primitive, albeit safer landlines. If you are an avid smartphone user in your thirties to sixties, you may have inadvertently damaged your hearing by now.

There’s no cure for hearing loss caused by cellphones. You dented your hearing sensitivity, and will probably have to bear with it for the rest of your life. Blue Angels hearing aids could compensate for your loss of sensitivity. Click here to be amazed at how effective they are, and how relatively little they cost.

More Reading

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Hearing Loss Chart - How Do Read and Interpret It

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Post

High-Frequency Hearing Loss Among Mobile Phone Users