In today’s digital world, we are exposed to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from almost everywhere around us. There are people who are more negatively affected by these fields than others. Electromagnetic fields are generated from various sources including high-voltage power lines, cell phone towers, household appliances, and cell phones among others. The amount of radiation varies based on the EMF source.
The use of mobile phones has rapidly increased over the years, and now almost everyone owns one. Phones receive and transmit microwave radiation at a frequency of 900 MHz or 1800 MHz. These frequencies contribute to various radiation effects. The widespread effects of electromagnetic fields have given rise to questions like: can you really hear EMF?
Some devices not only transmit microwaves but also radio frequencies (RF). Many people can hear radio frequency pulses, microwaves, and EMF radiation from devices using a range of 2.4 GHz to 10 GHz. When it is very quiet, you can hear a high-pitched noise coming from an EMF or RF source.
Though electromagnetic waves are in the form of a pressure wave, they can be detected as a sound. EMF radiation creates an acoustic vibration near the cochlea, making it easy to detect a high frequency sound. You can also hear the radio frequency.
The created acoustic frequency is usually independent of the actual RF pulses of electromagnetic frequency, but it is dependent on the dimensions of the head intercepting the signal. The head absorbs EMF energy, and as a result, the absorbed energy is converted to pressure waves.
How are Electromagnetic Waves Detected as Sound?
To understand how electromagnetic fields are detected as sound, we will use the thermos-elastic expansion theory. For example, if you create electromagnetic frequencies near a container with water in it, you will notice sound waves evoked in the water. The acoustic frequency waves expressed in the water are the same waves of sound you hear as radio frequency.
If the frequency waves are absorbed by the water, they raise the water temperature causing expansion that gets transmitted as pressure waves. Electromagnetic sound waves are transmitted through the bones into the cochlea where they’re detected as pressure waves.
Because of some stimulus conditions, the cochlea can emit some acoustic energy that is recorded in the ear canal.
Effects of Electromagnetic Radiation on Hearing
Radio frequency electromagnetic radiation generated by cell phone antennas penetrates the body tissue, which absorbs it and converts it to heat. Putting the phone antenna close to your ear may result in the absorption of a large amount of electromagnetic energy into your ear.
Putting a piece of aluminum between the ear and the RF source has been said to help reduce the amount of radiation one is exposed to, but it is also likely to impact the ability to hear the call.
EMF distribution and absorption in the body tissue depends on:
- The dielectric composition of the radiation.
- The EMF frequency.
- Distance from the source.
EMF energy absorption through water in the body tissue results in the heating of the tissues. The radiation intensity and efficiency contribute to the rise in temperatures in a thermoregulation manner. Cell phone EMF radiation exposure can affect deep tissues such as the brain and rise to maximum temperatures of 0.10 C, which is considered to be a normal body temperature. Therefore, the temperature rise is too low to cause any hearing issues. You can read more about the effects of EMF radiation here.
There are several studies about whether the radiation emitted by cell phones has a direct impact on hearing. A recent study by Dr. Allison Catlett Woodall indicates that using a cell phone for more than 60 minutes per day may contribute to issues caused by high-frequency radiation.
Repeated use and cumulative exposure may have future adverse effects. Repeated exposure to high-frequency radiation for a long time makes people unable to hear sounds in the range of 2000 to 8000 Hz.
An American Academy Otolaryngology study on electromagnetic waves indicates that radiation emitted by cell phones can cause other damages, but that hearing loss may be a result of high volumes rather than high frequency.
Some devices transmit both microwaves and radio frequencies (RF). Many people can hear RF, microwaves, and EMF radiation coming from devices. They hear a high-pitched noise coming from EMF or RF sources, especially when it’s quiet.
This is because electromagnetic radiation is transmitted through electric and magnetic waves. The sound produced is a result of changes in the air pressure that transmits through the air. The waves are detected as a sound due to the vibration of the wave in the ear. Many individuals can hear EMF radiation from devices with a frequency of 2.4 GHz – 10 Gz. Studies are ongoing about whether it actually causes a loss of hearing, but we do know that we can hear them.