A new feature in iPhones is drawing attention for its ability to protect users' hearing. Apple has implemented an inbuilt warning system that alerts users if they are at risk of hearing damage due to excessive volume levels in their headphones.
We've all been there - immersing ourselves in music, turning up the volume to drown out the world around us. But this habit can have lasting consequences on our hearing.
Apple's new feature aims to address this issue by flashing a yellow warning message if the volume level is too high over a seven-day period.
The warning is triggered when users listen to music or sound at a high volume level for seven consecutive days. Apple's website explains, "Headphone Notifications let you know if your audio exposure has been loud enough for a long enough period to affect your hearing – for example, over 80 decibels (dB) for a total of 40 hours within the last 7 days."
Experts recommend keeping sound levels below 85dB, warning that anything above 89dB through headphones for more than 5 hours a week can cause permanent hearing loss.
The NHS also states that high-intensity audio through headphones can lead to temporary or permanent hearing loss and tinnitus.
Safe listening levels might be lower than most people realize. The guidance for hearing protection suggests listening to music through devices at no more than 60% of the available volume. Continuous listening through headphones should be limited to no more than 1 hour at a time, with breaks to allow ears to recover and relax.
A Global Concern
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that around a billion young people worldwide could be at risk of hearing loss due to unsafe listening habits through headphones. Apple's new feature is a step towards raising awareness and promoting responsible listening habits.