Published Sep 30, 2009As public transit users know all too well, a lot of people play their iPods at downright unhealthy sound levels. However, this soon might change, at least in Europe, where the European Commission in Brussels has proposed new rules to put volume limits on MP3 players.
"It's easy to push up the sound levels on your MP3 player to damagingly loud levels, especially on busy streets or public transport," the Telegraph quotes EU Consumer Affairs Commissioner Meglena Kuneva as saying when announcing the proposal. "And the evidence is that particularly young people - who are listening to music at high volumes sometimes for hours each week - have no idea they can be putting their hearing at risk."
Under the new proposal, the default setting on all personal music players would become 80db, even though iPods can currently reach a maximum volume of 130db. The new rules would only apply to the default volume setting, not the maximum.
"These standards make small technical changes to players so that by default, normal use is safe," Kuneva said. "If consumers chose to override the default settings they can, but there will be clear warnings so they know the risks they are taking."
The proposal is now being considered by the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization. The process can take up to two years.