This is how a novelty in the field of accessibility works

Android 14 is the next version of the green robot operating system, its release in a stable form, starting with smartphones Manufactured by Google (ie the pixels) is expected in the coming weeks.

The big update It will not completely revolutionize the user experience, but rather continue a process of refinement of the design philosophy introduced with Android 12, but still introducing some interesting features, also in the area of ​​accessibility: including one that helps protect hearing during sessions in which I Heard music through headphones which worked disclosed after the release of the Android SDK 34 source code.

Android will try to “protect” users’ hearing.

As we get closer to the stable release of Android 14, which according to Google itself (which released the last beta of the long development cycle, the fifth one a week ago), is just around the corner, more and more specific details about some new features emerge , perhaps overshadowed, that will be introduced with the update.

Beyond the innovations in the field of personalization, the various and possible reorganizations of the settings, the new options and functions, we also find some interesting innovations in the field of accessibility that the Mountain View giant highlighted during the session “What’s new in Android accessibility?” by Google I/O 2023. One of the two is specifically about “protecting” users’ hearing.

Thanks to the release of the Android SDK 34 source code, the function is more understandable

At the end of the opening speech of the annual developer conference (on May 10 last year), Google launched the release of Android 14 Beta 2 on all compatible Pixels (all models from Pixel 4a 5G): among the new features was the new one “Headphone Loudspeaker Alert”a feature that protects the user’s hearing by notifying them when they are listening to Tempo music at a very high volume (considered unsafe).

This feature adds to the feature that has been present in Android for some time, which warns the user if they try to turn up the volume above a “safety limit” (set at 85dB); However, this warning that appears as a pop-up can easily be ignored. Therefore, there is a need to further develop Android 14 proactive in hearing protection.

After disclosing the Android SDK 34 source code, the usual Mishaal Rahman I was able to understand how the new feature works and tried to explain it.

This is how this novelty of Android 14 works in the field of accessibility

The new function of Hearing protection when listening to music through headphones from Android 14 uses a technology called CSD (Calculated sound dosesor “calculated sound doses”) to assess sound exposure and prevent hearing damage. The operating system performs an analysis of the audio signal to determine how loud and potentially harmful the sound is, and combines this information with volume attenuation/boost to calculate exposure dose over a 7-day window.

Android 14 presented different warning thresholds Based on CSD metric: There are warnings for temporary exposure, and alerts between 1x and 5x the CSD: at this level, a notification indicates that the volume on the headphones has been “turned down to a safer level”. Also, Android doesn’t track the sound dose for music played through Bluetooth speakers or headphones, since the actual sound level of these devices can be set independently (in fact, the tests were done on a Google Pixel 6a equipped with wired USB headphones -C). ).

As for the specific sound levels that trigger alarms, theTransient exposure occurs when the sound level exceeds 100 dB, while 1X CSD occurs when the sound level exceeds 80 dB for a period of 40 hours. Android shows the same warning for 2X, 3X and 4X of the CSD as these represent 100% increases from the previous CSD. If the user does not acknowledge these warnings, Android will continue to reduce the volume to the “RS1” output level, which corresponds to an average sound pressure level below 85 dB.

Hearing protection feature for Android 14

Behind the functionality is a European regulation

The introduction of this accessibility feature was Tax from the need to make Android 14 compatible with some EU regulatory requirements (safety standards). IEC 362368-1 by CENELEC) and is therefore activated by default on devices in the European Union, but not outside the European Union old world.

Currently, among the manufacturers of the Android panorama, Samsung is one of the few that already has such a function, which by default (in many regions) is disabled and accessible via the path “Settings > Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls > Volume Monitoring”.

The fact that Google implements this functionality directly in Android 14 This allows many other OEMs to use it in their own custom software.

You may also be interested in: Android 14 offers protection against less secure mobile network connections and Android allows devices to be linked to the same Google account

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