MORE than one billion young people risk damaging their hearing through excessive use of smartphones and other audio devices, the World Health Organisation (WHO, 世界衛生組織) warned.
Around half of those between the ages of 12 and 35 are at risk due to “prolonged and excessive exposure to loud sounds, including music they listen to through personal audio devices,” the United Nations health agency said.
Currently, about 5 percent of the global population, or some 466 million people, including 34 million children, suffer from disabling hearing loss.
The WHO said it remained unclear how many of them had damaged their hearing through dangerous use of audio devices, but that young people must understand that once they lose their hearing, it will not come back.
To safeguard hearing, the WHO and the International Telecommunications Union (國際電信聯盟) issued a non-binding international standard for the manufacture and use of audio devices.
The standard calls for built-in ‘sound allowance’ software in all audio devices to track volume level and usage duration, to evaluate hearing risk, and alert a user if they have dangerous listening habits.
WHO is also calling for parental as well as automatic volume controls on audio devices to prevent dangerous use.
(This article is published on Junior Standard on 20 February 2019)
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