Hearing health: WHO suggests new standard for headphones

It is common to see people listening to music, with cell phones or speakers, at leisure, listening to that favorite playlist. Whether on the way home, at the gym or on the bus, headphones are present.

Although it is a good way to get information or have fun, listening to audios with headphones requires attention, because the volume with which the sound is left is usually higher than that recommended by health entities.

With that, the fun becomes dangerous and harmful to your hearing.

The irregular use of stereos can cause some hearing frequencies to be affected, causing hearing impairments.

New recommendations

With this concern, the World Health Organization (WHO), together with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), recommended a new international standard for the manufacture of audio devices, paying attention to the sound volume they emit.

The guidance may be adhered to on a voluntary basis by governments and device manufacturers and include some changes to the configuration of the devices.

Among them are the device’s own features to identify the volume and duration that the person was listening to the audio track. This works as a way to track the time a person is exposed to noise.

The other recommendation is the so-called automatic volume decrease, which aims to reduce the sound that comes out of cell phones. The message “high volume can cause hearing loss” is an example of this type of guidance.

In the case of children using the device, it is important to have parental control, which allows parents to control and limit the volume.

Finally, based on this information already collected, users should be informed about a large exposure of the sound, about the advantages and disadvantages of using the personal device and the risks of frequent exposure to noise.

With all these changes, the goal is to reduce and prevent the numbers of hearing loss globally . In an estimate made by the WHO, by the year 2050, about 900 million people will have serious hearing problems.

Read more: What is ringing in the ear, causes, how to treat, has a cure?

What is the safe volume?

To find out how to safely use your headphones, you need to consider the volume of the sound with the amount of time you spend listening to music.

For example, the recommended by experts is that, in a time of 8 hours of exposure to the sound, the capacity of decibels is in the maximum of 85. If the time is bigger, the volume must decrease.

To better understand this measure it is possible to think of an mp3 device, such as smartphones. In general, at maximum volume they can reach up to 135 decibels.

The noise is so intense that, at maximum volume, it is equivalent to a football stadium.

And it takes no more than 3 or 4 minutes for exposure to affect hearing health.

However, the general recommendation of the World Health Organization is that, at low volume, the time for using headphones should not exceed one hour a day.

This is because, in a greater exposure, the auditory sensory cells are unable to regenerate, which can cause an irreversible hearing loss.

On March 3, the World Hearing Day is celebrated, however , it is essential to always pay attention to the health of the ears.