The World Health Organization (WHO) made following statements in ITU-T/WHO H.870 joint standard.
WHO estimates that [b-WHO-2018]:
Around 466 million people globally live with disabling hearing loss due to different causes. This number is projected to rise in coming decades, unless action is taken to mitigate risk factors for hearing loss.
Over a billion young people worldwide could be at risk of hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices.
Among teenagers and young adults 12 to 35 years old in middle and high income countries:
Nearly 50% listen to unsafe levels of sound with the use of personal audio devices such as MP3 players and smartphones.
Around 40% are exposed to potentially damaging sound levels at nightclubs, discotheques and bars.
The increasing sales of smartphones, with 1.5 billion devices sold globally in 2016 alone, is another indicator of potential risk. This increased accessibility and use of personal audio systems for listening to music is coupled with their use at high volume and for long durations. Such risk-associated behaviors can permanently damage hearing capacity.
In consideration of these facts, WHO launched the 'Make Listening Safe' initiative in 2015. The overall vision of this initiative is to ensure that people of all ages can enjoy listening with full protection of their hearing.
Its aim is to reduce the risk of hearing loss posed by unsafe exposure to sounds in recreational settings. In order to achieve this, WHO has identified three specific objectives:
Regulate exposure to loud sounds through personal audio systems.
Change listening behaviors among the target population.
Limit sound exposure in recreational settings.