The Hidden Damage Your Phone Is Doing To Your Body

The invention of the smartphone was a beautiful thing. It reminded us that the world was still progressing and that one day we really would have Star Trek technology, even if things didn't develop on all fronts in a linear fashion. No, we don’t have teleportation devices or mind control, but we do have a plethora of exciting technologies, like real-time satellite navigation and pocket-sized supercomputers, which seemed like science fiction just twenty years ago.

But as with any significant change in our lives, there are good things and bad things. Smartphones have helped make our lives immeasurably easier in many ways, but they could also be damaging our health. Let’s take a look at how.

Increase In Sedentary Habits

Woman Holding Phone Sitting On Sofa

Researchers in the study of nutrition often talk about the importance of the “primordial environment.” By primordial environment, scientists don’t mean the soup in which early life supposedly evolved on Earth - they mean the context in which children spend their formative years. Activity levels and dietary habits are often cemented in the first few years of life and last a lifetime.

Smartphone, therefore, could be behind the stubbornly high rates of childhood obesity. Rather than going outside and playing with friends, some people think that smartphones might be encouraging inactivity among children. There’s just no need to go out for fun and play when it can all happen on a hand-held device.

Increase In Hearing Problems

For years - ever since the invention of the Sony Walkman - older adults have implored their younger counterparts not to listen to music through these devices at high volume. Doing so will cause damage to the ears - or so the theory goes. But it turns out that this folk wisdom may have some real science behind it. As researchers learn more, they’re discovering that our sound environment plays a significant role in the long-term health of our ears.

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It’s not a minor problem either: according to the NIH, more than 26 million people in the US alone suffer from some form of diagnosed hearing loss - that’s about 9 percent of the total adult population. Smartphones may be contributing to the problem because people listen to music loudly through them. Earphones blasting out tunes at full volume for hours on end can cause damage to the sensitive cells in the middle ear, leading to hearing loss. The problem is especially bad for adults over 50.

Increase In Sleep Problems

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Smartphones are addictive tools. Phones drip-feed us constant updates and information that can make them hard to put down, especially at night. Many people use their phones just before they plan on going to sleep. But doing so could be having a detrimental effect on sleep patterns. Blue light emitted by phones hits the back of the retina in the eye which in turn sends signals to the brain to release serotonin, a hormone that tells the body to wake up and get going. Phones, therefore, could be behind the epidemic of insomnia in today’s society, tricking people’s brains into thinking that they need to stay awake.
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