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Deafness link to high-volume appliances

March 2013 saw the introduction of a volume safety limit for new portable music players such as iPods. New mobile phones and portable music players sold within the EU must now have a sound limit of 85 Decibels (dB). This is above the 80 dB which is regarded as the safe limit. This is similar to the volume of noise created by the noise of traffic or someone shouting. The 80dB limit was determined by the European Commission Assessment which concluded that 80dB was a safe level regardless of the length of time people were exposed to sound at this level.

The 85db can be overridden by users to 100dB. However, should users choose to do so, warnings regarding the risks of listening to portable music players will be repeated on the device every twenty hours.

It has been reported by the European Commission that an estimated twenty per cent of young people are exposed to too much noise in their leisure time and five to ten per cent of people in the EU are thought to be in danger of permanent noise induced deafness.
Noise induced hearing loss has traditionally been associated with working in heavy industry and is usually preventable through correct use of ear defenders and regular hearing tests. These studies show however, that this is no longer the case and it will likely have lasting effects through a generation. The studies are particularly disturbing as people will likely have no legal redress should they go onto develop noise induced deafness since default settings and warnings will be a standard feature on all devices.

Dallas McMillan deals with a high volume of noise induced deafness claims. If you feel you have developed deafness as a result of exposure to noise at work then do not hesitate to contact us.

Eamonn McCarron, 22 March

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