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9. What steps can I take to reduce my exposure to radiofrequency energy from my wireless phone?
If there is a risk from these products—and at this point we do not know that there is—it is probably very small. But if you are concerned
about avoiding even potential risks, you can take a few simple steps to minimize your exposure to radiofrequency energy (RF). Since
time is a key factor in how much exposure a person receives, reducing the amount of time spent using a wireless phone will reduce RF
• If you must conduct extended conversations by wireless phone every day, you could place more distance between your body and the
source of the RF, since the exposure level drops off dramatically with distance.
For example, you could use a headset and carry the wireless phone away from your body or use a wireless phone connected to a
remote antenna. Again, the scientific data do not demonstrate that wireless phones are harmful. But if you are concerned about the RF
exposure from these products, you can use measures like those described above to reduce your RF exposure from wireless phone use.
10. What about children using wireless phones?
The scientific evidence does not show a danger to users of wireless phones, including children and teenagers. If you want to take steps
to lower exposure to radiofrequency energy (RF), the measures described above would apply to children and teenagers using wireless
phones. Reducing the time of wireless phone use and increasing the distance between the user and the RF source will reduce RF
exposure. Some groups sponsored by other national governments have advised that children be discouraged from using wireless phones
at all. For example, the government in the United Kingdom distributed leaflets containing such a recommendation in December 2000. They
noted that no evidence exists that using a wireless phone causes brain tumors or other ill effects. Their recommendation to limit wireless
phone use by children was strictly precautionary; it was not based on scientific evidence that any health hazard exists.
11. What about wireless phone interference with medical equipment?
Radiofrequency energy (RF) from wireless phones can interact with some electronic devices. For this reason, FDA helped develop a
detailed test method to measure electromagnetic interference (EMI) of implanted cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators from wireless
telephones. This test method is now part of a standard sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Medical instrumentation
(AAMI). The final draft, a joint effort by FDA, medical device manufacturers, and many other groups, was completed in late 2000. This
standard will allow manufacturers to ensure that cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators are safe from wireless phone EMI. FDA has
tested hearing aids for interference from handheld wireless phones and helped develop a voluntary standard sponsored by the Institute
of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). This standard specifies test methods and performance requirements for hearing aids and
wireless phones so that that no interference occurs when a person uses a “compatible” phone and a “compatible” hearing aid at the same
time. This standard was approved by the IEEE in 2000. FDA continues to monitor the use of wireless phones for possible interactions
with other medical devices. Should harmful interference be found to occur, FDA will conduct testing to assess the interference and work
to resolve the problem.
12. Where can I find additional information?
For additional information, please refer to the following resources:
• FDA web page on wireless phones (http://www.fda.gov/Radiation-EmittingProducts/RadiationEmittingProductsandProcedures/
• Federal Communications Commission (FCC) RF Safety Program (http://www.fcc.gov/oet/rfsafety)
• International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (http://www.icnirp.de)
• World Health Organization (WHO) International EMF Project (http://www.who.int/peh-emf/en/)
• National Radiological Protection Board (UK) (http://www.hpa.org.uk/radiation/)
AVOID POTENTIAL HEARING LOSS
Prolonged exposure to loud sounds (including music) is the most common cause of preventable hearing loss. Some scientific research
suggests that using portable audio devices, such as portable music players and cellular telephones, at high volume settings for long
durations may lead to permanent noise-induced hearing loss. This includes the use of headphones (including headsets, earbuds and
Bluetooth® or other wireless devices). Exposure to very loud sound has also been associated in some studies with tinnitus (a ringing
in the ear), hypersensitivity to sound and distorted hearing. Individual susceptibility to noise-induced hearing loss and other potential
hearing problems varies.
The amount of sound produced by a portable audio device varies depending on the nature of the sound, the device, the device settings
and the headphones. You should follow some commonsense recommendations when using any portable audio device:
• Set the volume in a quiet environment and select the lowest volume at which you can hear adequately.
• When using headphones, turn the volume down if you cannot hear the people speaking near you or if the person sitting next to you
can hear what you are listening to.
• Do not turn the volume up to block out noisy surroundings. If you choose to listen to your portable device in a noisy environment, use
noise-cancelling headphones to block out background environmental noise.
• Limit the amount of time you listen. As the volume increases, less time is required before your hearing could be affected.
• Avoid using headphones after exposure to extremely loud noises, such as concerts, that might cause temporary hearing loss. Temporary
hearing loss might cause unsafe volumes to sound normal.
• Do not listen at any volume that causes you discomfort. If you experience ringing in your ears, hear muffled speech or experience any
temporary hearing difficulty after listening to your portable audio device, discontinue use and consult your doctor.
YOU CAN OBTAIN ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THIS SUBJECT FROM THE
AMERICA ACADEMY OF AUDIOLOGY
11730 Plaza American Drive, Suite 300
Reston, VA 20190