iPhone Can Tell if You’re Listening to Music Too Loud
The human ear is a very sensitive organ and over the years, there have been increasing concerns about young people presenting at hearing clinics suffering hearing loss or hearing distortion. The common factor is listening to music through headphones. It looks as if regularly listening to music, or anything else at high volume pushed directly into the ear can cause significant hearing loss or chronic tinnitus and cause permanent physical damage to the eardrum and the delicate small bones of the inner ear.
Research is ongoing but the concerns raised by health experts were deemed valid enough for mobile phone manufacturers, such as Apple, to create health apps in efforts to mitigate the risks of hearing damage to their customers. Such measures are not often pushed by the phone makers as a key feature, so their customers don’t always know or even care that the latest iPhones have hearing health applications as a built-in feature. Perhaps they should.
A Useful Built-in Feature
Your iPhone probably does have a built-in app to let you know you’re playing music at a damagingly high volume. It’s inclusive in iOS 13, but it’s even in Apple’s new Apple Watch app, and it recognizes when you’ve been in very noisy places for too long.
Check Your Headphone Audio Levels On iPhone
Like Google Play and other health-related applications, the iOS Health App focuses on the well-being of the person using the phone as well as managing day-to-day tasks.
The software keeps an audio level record every time headphones are attached. Every single media, audio or video, can be replayed and the decibel thresholds tested. The iPhone does not send an alert if the volume is at the limit.
Nonetheless, the Health software monitors all the decibel levels within the hearing environment and will recommend changes. To test the audio quality of your headset to find out whether you’re hurting your ears by enjoying music at high volumes, follow these steps.
To Enable The Health Application On Your iPhone
In Browse on the bottom navigation panel click on Hearing.
On the next page, enable Headphone Audio Levels to display the past-day audio grades as a graph.
On the graph, you can adjust the time fields to show audio grades and levels by the hour, the day, week, month or year. An analysis of hearing sensitivity is at the top of each table. ‘OK’ means there’s nothing to worry about, however, ‘Loud’ indicates you could be at risk. Prolonged periods at Loud, as research suggests, will almost certainly have a detrimental effect on your hearing.
How Do You Find Out if You Are Damaging Your Hearing?
Apple doesn’t only calculate the decibel volume of the audio output through the headphones, it tracks the actual sound quality. To carry this out the Apple Health app tests the average amplitude of the whole replay and also maintains the file.
You can find the quality frequency and daily rates by accessing the ‘Headphone Volume Settings’ from the Health app. Linking it to the graph provides even more information about the quality of sound on the iPhone audio.
According to guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation, the optimum healthy levels for safely listening to sound through the headphones is as follows.
- Eighty decibels for no longer than five hours per day
- Eighty-five decibels for no more than two hours per day
- Ninety decibels for no more than 30 minutes per day
- Ninety-five decibels for no more than 10 minutes per day
- One hundred decibels for no more than three minutes per day
The dB rating falls with AirPods Pro, which incorporates a noise-cancellation facility. With this app, it is possible to listen to music comfortably at a lower volume even on the subway, since they block out and cancel background noise.
How Do Apple Achieve This?
The iPhone comes with remarkable updates every year. Some are appreciated and others critiqued. Nevertheless, this audio level update is very beneficial for all those who are regularly using phones on very high volumes. The latest Apple iPhones, specifically in iOS 13, come with sensors and noise detectors that can detect if the volume is high enough to potentially cause damage to hearing.
Even with guidelines from credible organizations such as WHO and easy to use health apps and inbuilt features, it can still be difficult to get the message across that listening to very loud music for long periods can and does create hearing loss.
For many Apple users, part of their appeal is that it is the technology that allows total immersion in music on the go. In fact, they’d probably argue that it is what their Apple phone has been designed for, especially when it allows easy access and storage to thousands upon thousands of downloadable tunes. Even so, users must also take on some of the responsibility for their own hearing health.