A pair of headphones

Headphone/Earbuds hearing safety

Your BLV student regularly wears earbuds to hear his/her screen reader.

Recently the news has been covering a story about a 12-year-old boy who was watching Netflix on his phone with AirPods on a low volume when an Amber Alert went off. Allegedly, the boy received permanent hearing loss due. (See USA Today’s article for details.)

Is this a concern for BLV students, who may frequently wear earbuds in order to listen to a screen reader in the classroom or in public? For students using iPads or iPhones, there is a setting available to reduce the chance of hearing loss due to loud noises such as an AMBER Alert:

Open the Settings app > Sounds & Haptics > Headphone Safety. There is a toggle called Reduce Loud Sounds. Turn this on and use the slider to choose your preferred volume.

Windows, Macs, and Android devices have third-party applications avallable that can limit the volume. Many of these apps are designed as a parental control feature to limit the volume. These apps were intended to limit the volume of music, videos and games; however, these apps can also limit the unexpected volume spikes, such as the very loud Amber Alert.

ZDNet’s article, 5 Tips for Preventing Hearing Loss Caused by Headphones, provides good information including suggestions on headphones and volume-limiting applications.

Turn off AMBER Alerts & other emergency alerts

According to Wikipedia, “An Amber Alert or a child abduction emergency alert is a message distributed by a child abduction alert system to ask the public for help in finding abducted children. The system originated in the United States, and is named for Amber Rene Hagerman, who was abducted and later found murdered in 1996.”

Interested in turning off AMBER alerts and other emergency alerts? You can choose to turn off AMBER and emergency alerts (except for Presidential Alerts) on Android and iOS devices. The Digital Trends post, How to Turn Off  Amber & Other Emergency Alerts on Android and iOS, lists a wide variety of smart phones and the steps required to turn off AMBER and other Emergency Alerts.

By Diane Brauner

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