World Health Organization

World Health Organization targets harmful smartphone usage

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United Nations new safety standards for safe volume levels

United Nations warned that more than one billion, youngsters risk harming their hearing through extreme utilization of smartphones and other audio devices. Considering this serious issue, UN has proposed new safety standards for safe volume levels. Likewise, to safeguard hearing, the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Telecommunications Union (ITU) issued a non-binding international standard for the manufacture and use of audio devices.

Youngsters’ risky listening habits

Youngsters are more inclined to risky listening habits. UN health agency said, “Around half of those between the ages of 12 and 35, or 1.1 billion people, are at risk due to prolonged and excessive exposure to loud sounds, including music they listen to through personal audio devices.” At present, about five percent of the worldwide residents, or some 466 million people, including 34 million children, suffer from disabling hearing loss.

WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pointed out that the world already has “the technological know-how to prevent hearing loss.” Further, he said, “It should not be the case that so many young people continue to damage their hearing while listening to music.”

85 decibels for 8 hours and 100 decibels for 15 hours is dangerous

WHO said it stayed uncertain how many of them had damaged their hearing through risky use of audio devices. It insisted though that the new standard developed with ITU would go a long way to safeguard these young consumers as they go about doing something they enjoy. It also considers a volume above 85 decibels for eight hours or 100 decibels for 15 minutes as dangerous. It is calling for parental as well as automatic volume controls on audio devices to avoid risky usage of it. While some smartphones and other audio devices already provide some of these features, the UN would like to see a uniform standard used to help protect against disabling hearing loss.

Requesting new software to help user

The Safe listening devices and systems standard requests for a sound allowance software to be included in all audio devices. The software will provide help to track the volume level and duration of a user’s exposure to sound and to evaluate the risk posed to their hearing. This system could notify a user if they have dangerous listening habits.

Shelly Chadha of the WHO said, “Think of it like driving on a highway, but without a speedometer in your car or a speed limit.” Moreover, she added, “What we’re proposed is that your smartphones come fitted with a speedometer, with a measurement system which tells you how much sound you’re getting and tells you if you are going over the limit.”

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