RNID say new EU standards could safeguard hearing

November 9, 2009

The Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) has welcomed a mandate to develop new regulations for personal music players, set out by the European Commissioner for Consumer Affairs.

RNID’s Don’t Lose the Music campaign has been lobbying the European Commission and manufacturers to raise awareness about the risks of personal music players at high volume levels for long periods of time. The campaign found that 66 per cent of personal music player users listen to music louder than 85 decibels (dB), which according to the World Health Organisation, can cause permanent hearing loss over time.

The new standards will make it clear that safe use depends on exposure time and volume levels. The default settings will be limited to 80 dB and exposure should be limited to 40 hours per week. Consumers can choose to override these settings, but will be warned about the risks of hearing damage if they do. Personal music player manufacturers will also be required to include clear on-pack warnings and hearing damage information in product literature, so that listeners know when the music has reached a damaging volume and can take action to protect their hearing.