Beg your pardon?

December 9, 2023

Having trouble hearing?

Could electromagnetic fields (EMFs) be part of the problem?

In a study published in September, Italian scientist Valerio Magnaghi and team offered valuable insights on this possibility.

Hearing loss is one of the most common and growing disorders of the sensory system. According to the World Health Organization nearly 2.5 billion people worldwide ─ or 1 in 4 people ─ will be living with some degree of hearing loss by 2050.

Magnaghi’s paper points out that electromagnetic fields can affect health. The authors say, ‘a number of other environmental factors, including the exposure to electric or electromagnetic fields (EMFs) emitted by electronic devices (e.g., domestic appliances, notebooks or mobile phones), has been also suspected as potential risk factor for human health, likely including VS [Vestibular Schwannoma] onset and growth). In the last decades, scientific studies, empirical observations, and patient reports clearly indicate interactions between EMFs exposure and health problems although in the same time the general susceptibility to environmental factors, like EMFs, has been frequently neglected.’

Magnaghi’s team explained that electromagnetic fields could potentially cause hearing problems by via their effects on Schwann cells.

Schwann cells are a common type of glial cells in the peripheral nervous system and help protect nerve axons by coating them in a layer of myelin. It is thought that changes to Schwann cells in the auditory system could be a cause of hearing loss.

The authors also explained that electromagnetic fields have been shown to affect Schwann cell integrity and function. ‘SCs (Schwann Cells) exposed to the EMF showed modification in cell proliferation, migration, and differentiation,’ they wrote.

In fact, EMF exposure could lead to the development of vestibular schwannomas (also known as acoustic neuromas) which are slow-growing and benign tumours that develop on the vestibular nerve in the ear (known to affect hearing and balance).

The data, the authors suggest, ‘likely suggest a potential participation of the EMFs to the nerve tumorigenesis and schwannoma development.’ Further, they say that ‘chronic EMF exposure represents a kind of second hit, affecting the SC [Schwann cell)] development in vulnerable human subjects, specifically those bearing NF2 mutations or changes in merlin expression, and predisposed to develop VS [vestibular schwannomas] and subsequent HL [hearing loss].’

They suggest further research on the issue be conducted.

Mohammed T, Melfi V, Cociago A, Magnaghi V. Hearing loss and vestibular schwannoma: new insights into Schwann cells implication. Cell Death Dis, 2023 Sep 23; 14(9):629. doi: 10.1038 /s41419 - 023-06141 -z. PMID: 37741837; PMCID: PMC10517973.

World Health Organisation, ‘WHO 1 in 4 people projected to have hearing problems by 2050’ 2021,

Looking for an inexpensive Christmas gift for a child?

‘Wireless Wise Kids’, a book by Lyn McLean, shows kids how to use mobile and wireless technology more safely. 

You can see details here.

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