Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineSchool of Public Health

Chair in Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine



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BibTex format

author = {Auvinen, A and Feychting, M and Ahlbom, A and Hillert, L and Elliott, P and Schuz, J and Kromhout, H and Toledano, MB and Johansen, C and Poulsen, AH and Vermeulen, R and Heinavaara, S and Kojo, K and Tettamanti, G and COSMOS, Study Group},
doi = {ije/dyz127},
journal = {International Journal of Epidemiology},
pages = {1567--1579},
title = {Headache, tinnitus and hearing loss in the international Cohort Study of Mobile Phone Use and Health (COSMOS) in Sweden and Finland},
url = {},
volume = {48},
year = {2019}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - BackgroundMobile phone use and exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) from it have been associated with symptoms in some studies, but the studies have shortcomings and their findings are inconsistent. We conducted a prospective cohort study to assess the association between amount of mobile phone use at baseline and frequency of headache, tinnitus or hearing loss at 4-year follow-up.MethodsThe participants had mobile phone subscriptions with major mobile phone network operators in Sweden (n = 21 049) and Finland (n = 3120), gave consent for obtaining their mobile phone call data from operator records at baseline, and filled in both baseline and follow-up questionnaires on symptoms, potential confounders and further characteristics of their mobile phone use.ResultsThe participants with the highest decile of recorded call-time (average call-time >276 min per week) at baseline showed a weak, suggestive increased frequency of weekly headaches at 4-year follow-up (adjusted odds ratio 1.13, 95% confidence interval 0.95–1.34). There was no obvious gradient of weekly headache with increasing call-time (P trend 0.06). The association of headache with call-time was stronger for the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) network than older Global System for Mobile Telecommunications (GSM) technology, despite the latter involving higher exposure to RF-EMF. Tinnitus and hearing loss showed no association with call-time.ConclusionsPeople using mobile phones most extensively for making or receiving calls at baseline reported weekly headaches slightly more frequently at follow-up than other users, but this finding largely disappeared after adjustment for confounders and was not related to call-time in GSM with higher RF-EMF exposure. Tinnitus and hearing loss were not associated with amount of call-time.
AU - Auvinen,A
AU - Feychting,M
AU - Ahlbom,A
AU - Hillert,L
AU - Elliott,P
AU - Schuz,J
AU - Kromhout,H
AU - Toledano,MB
AU - Johansen,C
AU - Poulsen,AH
AU - Vermeulen,R
AU - Heinavaara,S
AU - Kojo,K
AU - Tettamanti,G
AU - COSMOS,Study Group
DO - ije/dyz127
EP - 1579
PY - 2019///
SN - 1464-3685
SP - 1567
TI - Headache, tinnitus and hearing loss in the international Cohort Study of Mobile Phone Use and Health (COSMOS) in Sweden and Finland
T2 - International Journal of Epidemiology
UR -
UR -
UR -
VL - 48
ER -