UN releases guidelines for audio devices, warns 1 billion people are at risk for hearing loss

Nearly half of all people aged 12 to 35 are at risk of hearing loss

Two U.N. agencies, The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Telecommunications Union, want governments and makers of headphones, mobile phones, and other audio devices to make more of an effort to keep the volume they emit down after they raised concerns about hearing loss in an increasingly digital landscape.

On Tuesday, these two agencies presented new standards, or voluntary guidelines, for the creation and use of audio devices. WHO has revealed that almost half of people aged 12 to 35, which equates to about 1.1 billion people, are at risk of hearing loss because of “prolonged and excessive exposure to loud sounds,” according to Billboard.

As a result, they recommend that personal audio devices should come equipped with software that tracks exposure to sound. Additionally, audio providers should inform people about the safety level of their listening habits and offer up ways to limit volume, such as parental controls.