WHO Rocks To The “Sound Of Life” At Launch Of WHO-ITU Safe Listening Standard

Grammy award-winning musician Ricky Kej performed a “Sound of Life” concert at the World Health Organization to help launch the first-ever global standard for safe listening devices, aimed at raising awareness and inspiring action to prevent sound-induced hearing loss.

Ricky Kej introducing the “Sound of Life” concert at the World Health Organization

The first-ever global standard for safe listening devices [pdf] was released by the World Health Organization and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) earlier this week as part of the WHO’s “Make Listening Safe” initiative, “which seeks to improve listening practices especially among young people,” according to a WHO press release.

“Nearly 50% of people aged 12-35 years – or 1.1 billion young people – are at risk of hearing loss due to prolonged and excessive exposure to loud sounds, including music they listen to through personal audio devices,” it said.

The standard sets a technical limit on the level and duration of exposure for adults and children, and recommends certain “safe listening” features for audio devices (HPW, Violence & Injuries, 12 February 2019).

Ricky Kej, an internationally renowned Indian music composer, environmentalist, professor, and Grammy Award winner, was the main performer at the event.

“Being a musician, the ‘Make Listening Safe’ campaign by the WHO is very close to my heart,” he told Health Policy Watch.

A video clip of the concert was tweeted out by WHO Deputy Director General Soumya Swaminathan:

“It is important for us musicians to protect our hearing because our careers depend on it, but it is even more important for us to ensure we create and perform our music at listening levels which is safe for our audiences. The guidelines for safe listening on devices launched by the WHO and the ITU are thoroughly researched and will ensure our audiences experience healthy listening and a wholesome musical experience, as intended by us music creators. The guidelines are very Pro Music and Healthy,” he said.

“WHO is not against music, quite the opposite. We want people to enjoy it throughout their lives,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Dr Tedros), said at the event, according to a tweet.

Dr Tedros, director-general of the WHO, with Ricky Kej at the concert

Shelly Chadha, who is responsible for the programme for prevention of deafness and hearing loss at the WHO, tweeted on the event, saying:

“WHO rocks to the ‘sound of life’ in a #safelistening concert, which marked the launch of the WHO-ITU global standard for safe listening devices and systems!”

Ricky Kej and his band helping the WHO “rock” to the “Sound of Life”


Image Credits: WHO.