Tuesday, January 19, 1999 Published at 17:40 GMT
Deafness risk from personal stereos
Personal stereos could cause premature deafness
Safety experts have warned that prolonged listening to personal stereos could damage people's hearing and may leave them prematurely deaf.
It is investigating the extent of the problem and its research could lead to national and pan-European guidelines on safe levels of listening.
Research from Australia suggests children aged between 10 and 15 who listen to loud personal stereos for more than six hours a week may be damaging their hearing so badly they could suffer hearing problems 30 years early.
They also say stereo noise is equivalent to listening to a pneumatic drill for eight hours a day.
David Lazenby, BSI's director of standards, said: "BSI is concerned that the average sound levels on personal stereos can be well above the 85 decibels recommended by health authorities.
"The responsible committee will be looking into a broad range of issues with a view to publishing national guidelines."
The guidelines are likely to be published early next year and could lead to recommendations that volume controls be restricted as well as the inclusion of safety warnings with personal stereos.
But Hugh Pelter of the Electronic Equipment Manufacturers said manufacturers already warned customers to avoid high volume levels.