World Hearing Day 2022: To hear for life, listen with care
More than 1 billion young people (12-35 years old) are at risk for hearing loss due to recreational exposure to loud sounds. To raise awareness for the implications of hearing loss due to unsafe contact with high volumes and continued exposure, the World Health Organization (WHO) has established the World Hearing Day on March 3rd.
According to WHO data published in 2021:
- Approximately over 5% of the world’s population suffers from disabling hearing loss, which requires rehabilitation.
- 1 out of 6 people has some degree of non-disabling hearing loss. Over half a billion people will suffer from some degree of hearing loss by 2050, and about 700 million of them will need rehabilitation.
- Due to unsafe listening practices, over 1 billion young adults risk permanent, avoidable hearing loss.
WHO calls organizations to raise awareness and implement evidence-based standards that promote safe listening. The most common causes of hearing loss in adults, such as exposure to loud sounds and ototoxic medicines, are preventable. It is possible to mitigate the risk of hearing loss associated with recreational sound exposure by practicing safe listening.
At USound, we make echo of this campaign and would like to encourage consumer electronics manufacturers to incorporate the advice of the WHO:
- Manufacturers should take the following actions:
Establish themselves as leaders in safe listening by voluntarily adopting the WHO-ITU global standard by ensuring that the audio products they manufacture conform to:
– requirements of the WHO-ITU Global standard;
– optional features within the WHO-ITU Global standard.
- Improve the accuracy of the ‘dose/allowance’ measurement by:
– working to improve the testing algorithm and reduce measurement errors;
– Assuring that the algorithm is compatible with a wide variety of commonly used headphones/earphones (including those from other manufacturers).
- Develop an informative and appealing user interface. A good interface should:
– engagingly provide information on safe listening;
– provide user-friendly and easily understandable information on listening parameters and sound allowance;
– provide reliable and validated resources for safe listening.
Since ear fatigue, meaning sensory overload due to long-term noise exposure, is on the rise, resulting in permanent damage to hearing in the worst case, special attention should be paid to some factors which threaten a healthy listening experience. These include the noise or music volume, the time spent listening, and the device used for listening. The main problem for avid music listeners is caused by loud volumes delivered over earphones that seal off the ear canal.
At USound, we strive to improve the experience of wearables and hearables users.
One of our core objectives is to provide micro speakers that enable innovation in audio-centric consumer electronics. While devices like true wireless earbuds can already be improved by making them more lightweight and balancing out the frequency ranges they deliver, they can still cause ear fatigue if used over a prolonged time. An alternative for persons who listen to a lot of music or do a lot of phone calls on a headset could be audio glasses.
FAUNA Audio Glasses are designed to leave the ear canal open while achieving good audio quality even with low volume, thanks to the acoustic dipole configuration. Their ergonomic design further ensures the listener’s comfort even over a more extended period. With these features, Fauna promotes a more healthy listening experience, minimizing the risk of developing severe health consequences through chronic ear fatigue.
For more information on safe-listening visit: WHO World Hearing Day 2022