A leading Canadian medical journal is calling on Health Canada to follow the lead of European countries that have passed laws governing maximum volume levels for iPods and other personal listening devices.
Children and young adults who have grown up with music blasting through earbuds and headphones risk permanent hearing loss and should be protected through legislation, says the online medical journal Open Medicine.
The federal government should set default maximum volume settings of 85 decibels, Dr. Kapil Khatter states in his editorial.
Manufacturers of devices distributed or sold in Europe have been given two years to meet the new standards. In Ottawa, the government is evaluating the issue but has not given an indication of whether the new European standards will be copied.
“Research suggests that the earbud generation might one day be the hearing-loss generation,” said Khatter, an Ottawa family doctor, in Open Medicine.
“Health Canada should follow the European lead and use the new Canada Consumer Product Safety Act to require similar changes to personal music players sold in Canada,” Khatter said.
“Other jurisdictions should take action as well. Harmonizing with the new European Union standards would create consistent expectations of manufacturers and allow them to create one set of products globally. In doing so, larger numbers of consumers would be protected and the worldwide risk of hearing damage reduced.”
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