When you’re shopping for headphones, you want to make sure you’re buying a quality product. You want to know the headphones will deliver great sound and be comfortable to wear. You also want to know the headphones won’t break easily. All those things matter, but there’s another factor that’s just as important: safety.
Safety is about a lot more than the durability of your headphones – it’s about making sure you aren’t exposed to harmful chemicals in your device or its packaging. On many of the products we use every day, you may see icons or fine print representing different types of certifications, standards and regulations that the product is compliant with (or in some cases, you may not).
But what do they all mean and specifically, why do headphone certifications matter?
A company’s responsibility
Companies that are committed to the safety and high-quality standards of their products uphold their accountability by staying up to date on specifications and remaining consistent in their practices. At AVID, quality assurance and safety are a huge priority that enables us to sell our products in a variety of markets.
“Years ago, AVID began its journey to tackle our products environmental impact, compliance with safety and environmental regulations and much more. As an organization we demonstrate that we are purposeful about sustainability, hold strong ethical standards and operate responsibly in everything we do.”
Christine Contant, Director of Engineering, AVID Products
In most cases, companies have their products tested to ensure compliance with a range of qualifications. This testing usually happens in certified labs, with additional testing done in-house with specialized equipment. Investing in quality assurance maintains product standards and safety practices that affect our own health and safety, as well as that of the planet and our resources.
Common standards, certifications and regulations
Now that we know why safety and quality are important for products to have, what are the most common standards, certifications and regulations in place?
California Prop 65
Regulation under Prop 65 (formally The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act) requires manufacturers and retailers to provide a ‘clear and reasonable’ warning before knowingly and intentionally exposing individuals to chemicals that potentially cause cancer or reproductive harm.
RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances)
European Union directive 2002/95/EC, which went into effect July 1, 2006, restricts the use of six hazardous materials in the manufacture of various types of electronic products. These hazardous materials include lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium (Cr6+), polybrominated biphenyls (PBB), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE).
REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals)
One of the major elements of the REACH regulation is the requirement to communicate information on chemicals up and down the supply chain. This ensures that manufacturers, importers, and also their customers are aware of information relating to health and safety of the products supplied.
When you see the letters CE on a product, that means it is safe to sell in the European Economic Area (EEA) and conforms with European health, safety and environmental protection standards. To have this marking means the product:
- Fulfills all the requirements for the appropriate European product directives
- Fulfills the requirements for the relevant European safety & performance standards
- Meets its purpose and is not at risk of endangering lives or property
The FCC mark is present when the electromagnetic radiation from the device is below the limits specified by the Federal Communications Commission. In addition to this, the Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity (SDoC) is an FCC equipment authorization procedure requiring compliance from the responsible party to ensure the equipment complies with the appropriate technical regulations.
Why do headphone certifications matter?
With the growing number of headphone users comes the need for safe and compliant audio solutions. It is the responsibility of retailers and manufacturers to stay up to date on standards, certifications and regulations. As a consumer, we can check labels, ask questions and do product research before purchasing headphones or any other product. By taking these extra steps, we may ensure a safe, quality-assured experience for ourselves, those around us and for our planet.
To see the list of certifications AVID products are compliant with, visit our Product Solutions page.