Listening to music through headphones is increasingly common but can have an adverse effect on hearing. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 1 billion youth are at risk of hearing loss due to unsafe listening habits.
To help bring attention to the issue of hearing loss, the WHO has declared World Hearing Day on 3 March. As part of its campaign to encourage regular hearing checks and to practice safe listening, the WHO launched a free app, HearWHO, a hearing screener to check an individual’s hearing status and monitor it over time. Many individuals live without hearing properly and intervention, such as hearing aids can help.
Hearing aids are an essential tool in helping those suffering from hearing loss with an estimated 8 million of such devices manufactured each year. The IEC Technical Committee (TC) 29 is responsible for developing standards related to hearing aid performance, specification and measurement. Specifically, it has prepared a series of International Standards, IEC 60118, for hearing aids. It has also developed IEC 60601-2-66:2015 which applies to the safety of hearing aids.
IEC TC 100 also addresses the needs of people with disabilities or age related limitations. Within TC 100, Technical Area (TA) 16 addresses aspects of active assisted living (AAL), accessibility and user interfaces as they relate to home electronic devices. For example, it developed IEC 62944 which specifies a set of principles and considerations for digital television products to support persons with disabilities, including individuals with hearing impairments.
Those suffering from hearing loss can benefit from continued advances in technology that not only provide devices, such as hearing aids, to improve hearing but also ensure that household products, such as television sets and computers, include tools that can improve their usability for everyone regardless of their physical limitations.
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