Regularly using a mobile phone could increase the risk of tinnitus, experts said today. The condition causes a noise in the ear such as a ringing, roaring or hissing sound.
Around 10pc to 15pc of adults have chronic tinnitus and it seriously affects quality of life -- such as preventing sleeping -- in up to 3pc of people.
Now experts from Austria believe there is a link between tinnitus and mobile phone use after studying 100 people with the condition.
Some 27pc of the group had tinnitus in their right ear, 38pc in the left and 35pc in both ears.
Analysis showed that people who used a mobile phone on one ear for four years or more were almost twice as likely to develop tinnitus in that ear as those without the condition.
Meanwhile, people using a mobile for one to three years were 23pc more likely and those using a mobile for more than 10 minutes a day had a 71pc higher risk.
This compared with a 2pc risk if they used a mobile for less than 10 minutes a day.
The authors, from the University of Vienna, said people are likely to over or underestimate their mobile phone usage and the length of calls.
But they added: "Considering all potential biases and confounders, it is unlikely that the increased risk of tinnitus from prolonged mobile phone use obtained in this study is spurious.
"Because of the high prevalence of tinnitus and the widespread use of mobile phones, even a slightly increased risk would be of public health importance."
They said there was a possible link because the ear absorbs a considerable amount of the power emitted by a mobile phone. The research was published online in the journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.