Pump down the volume, EU to tell MP3 makers

September 25, 2009
An Apple iPod plays an iPod commercial at an Apple Store July 2009 in San Francisco, California. Tens of millions of people will be forced to listen to portable music at permanently reduced volume under European Commission proposals to be unveiled next week.

Tens of millions of people will be forced to listen to portable music at permanently reduced volume under European Commission proposals to be unveiled next week.

The plans, trailed ahead of talks between Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva and gadget manufacturers on Monday, are aimed at reducing health hazards but also nuisance complaints.

Brussels says the dangers arising from high volumes or long periods spent wearing or earplugs means developers of including iPods and mobile phones will have to lower permitted noise output levels.

According to a report issued by an EU scientific committee in October 2008, as many as 10 percent of listeners risk permanent hearing loss by listening to every day for five years.

Brussels wants the maximum decibel level to be reduced from 100 to 80 decibels, with all new music players built to the new standards.

A normal conversation is held at around 60 decibels, according to medical charts, with a loud rock concert measured at about 115 decibels.

Kuneva has previously expressed her fears over "irreversible degradation" in the hearing of today's youth.

(c) 2009 AFP

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3 comments

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Corban
not rated yet Sep 25, 2009
What recourse will people have when they try to listen to music in loud areas? Perhaps better insulating headphones...
kevinf
not rated yet Sep 25, 2009
How silly. I'm sure that right on the heels will be a new invention - an amplifier to put between the earphones and the player. Or even more likely, earphones with built in amplifiers.
What other recourse will people have who are stuck with audio tracks with lower than normal volume or with lousy earphones? A public education campaign would accomplish much more.
bludimon
not rated yet Sep 26, 2009
Socialism doing its work to control people and industry. How many controls on the freedom people have is needed before we know what we are going to do everyday because the government is in control of most activities.

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