Advanced warning of some expected changes to the new safety standards for mobile phone handsets and wireless headphones
I thought that it might be useful to give you advanced warning about some changes that are expected to the new safety standards which would affect wireless headphones.
You may already be aware that in December 2020 Europe and North America will adopt the new IEC62368-1: 2018 safety standard.
As currently drafted this safety standard applies to ‘Personal Music Players’ (PMPs) under which definition most of the hearing safeguarding burden falls on the smartphone handset, though headphones will be subject to a proscribed maximum sensitivity to restrict their output.
We have heard recently that because of the rapid growth in the use of wireless headphones CENELEC, who are responsible for the standard, are expected to extend the definition of PMPs to include wireless headphones.
Under IEC62368-1: 2018 wireless headphone would have to have limited sensitivity, volume warnings which require the user’s acceptance before exceeding 85dB or provide information with optional automatic protection based on individual dosimetry.
It is also worth noting that the ITU/WHO’s more demanding safety standard H.870 is expected to define wireless headphones as Personal Audio Systems (PASs) which would require them to provide users with information and optional automatic protection based on individual dosimetry.
In advance of these new safety standards Apple’s Air Pod Pros, which were launched in October, offer complaint safeguarding features when used with an iPhone running iOS 13.
If you are looking for solutions to IEC62368-1: 2018 and or ITU/WHO H.870 please get in touch.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stephen Wheatley has spent more than nine years developing hearing safeguarding solutions for people who use headphones at work and is one of the founders of HearAngel – wireless headphone and smartphone software that meets the requirements of the new safety standards. He is also a Founder and Trustee Director of the UK Hearing Conservation Association.