The World Health Organization wants to lower the volume of smartphones and mp3 players


For the risks of our ears, especially those are young people, WHO (World Health Organization) has made recommendations to audio equipment manufacturers.

“Lower the sound!” This is, in essence, the message addressed by the World Health Organization to music device manufacturers about headphones.

The WHO has just issued a non-binding regulation on the volume of these smartphones and other mp3 players.

50% of young people are exposed to hearing loss

About 50 percent of 12- to 35-year-olds, or 1.1 billion people, are at risk of hearing loss as a result of “prolonged and excessive exposure to loud sounds , ” according to the WHO.

“We know – how to prevent hearing loss, there should not be so many young people who continue to damage their hearing by listening to music,” said the Director General of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Currently, 5% of the world’s population, or 466 million people, including 34 million children, suffer from hearing loss. WHO does not know, however, what percentage is related to the misuse of audio devices.

Systems to assess risks

The new standard, developed by WHO in partnership with the International Telecommunication Union, another UN agency, recommends that manufacturers of these devices including smartphones and audio players systems for evaluating risks related to the sound volume.

These systems would inform the user about the sound level and the duration of listening and alert them in case of danger.

Like a speedometer

“For now, we only have our instinct” to tell us if the volume is too high, said WHO doctor Shelly Chadha during a press briefing in Geneva.

“It’s like driving a car on a highway, but without a speedometer in your car or speed limit. What we propose is that smartphones must equipped with a speedometer, a measurement system that provides information about the amount of sound you should get and that tells you if you exceed the limit ” , again said.

WHO is also proposing to introduce parental volume control or automatic volume limitation.


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Savi is a regular writer and social activist. She also writes for BBC, Huffington Posts and others.

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