Keep the Volume Down! UN Issues Guidelines for Audio Devices

United Nations building
Florian Gaertner/Photothek via Getty Images

The flag of the UN is pictured in front of the United Nations building on Sept. 26, 2018 in New York City.

Two U.N. agencies want governments and makers of headphones, mobile phones and other audio devices to do more to keep down the volume they emit amid concerns about hearing loss in an increasingly digitized era.

The World Health Organization and the International Telecommunications Union on Tuesday (Feb. 12) presented new standards, or voluntary guidelines, for the manufacture and use of personal audio devices.

WHO says nearly half of all people aged 12 to 35, or 1.1 billion people, are at risk of hearing loss due to “prolonged and excessive exposure to loud sounds.”

The recommendations say personal audio devices should include software to track exposure to sound. They should provide ways to limit volume, such as through parental controls, and tell people about the safety of their listening habits.


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