April 1, 2006 - (SOYHA News Release)
In a stunning move, 48 International agencies have agreed to implement a new law banning the use of all portable music players that employ the use of ear phones, to listen to music.
The law is being set in place to protect youth, under the age of 18, from ear damage and potential hearing problems.
Lirpa Sloof , president of the Save Our Youth Hearing Association (SOYHA) claims "Many portable music devices are inherently defective in design and are not sufficiently adorned with adequate warnings regarding the likelihood of hearing loss." In France, law requires audio devices to output a maximum of 100 decibels. In other parts of Europe, there is a mandate a 104 db maximum, as is the case in most parts of the world.
While most portable music players produce 100 db maximum output, the problem lies in the way the music is listened to. Portable earphones/plugs used by youth often increase the risk of hearing loss. The main earphones that contribute to the higher volumes include those which fit into the ear canal as apposed to the standard earphones that sit on the outside of the ear. The further the earphones go into the ear, the more concentrated the sound becomes.
Sloof states "providing noise blocking headphones so consumers don't need to crank up the volume as much to over-power external noise is not an option as youth simply turn up the volume even higher." Hearing experts claim that exposures of 100dB should be limited to 2 hours a day. Most youth exceed that "safe" number. Sloof went on to say that "it is possible to cause hearing damage with more than 28 seconds of continuous audio played at decibels over 115db wearing some earphones".
For these reasons SOYHA proposed an outright ban on the use of portable music players to all youth under the age of 18. After three readings it appears the new law may pass reading and be implemented by April 1, 2007. Portable music player manufacturers could not be reached for comment at time of posting.