EU proposes new volume standards for MP3 players

By on September 29, 2009, 4:30 PM
The European Commission introduced new volume standards for MP3 players yesterday, which will supposedly help prevent music lovers from damaging their hearing. The new standard requires devices like Apple's iPod to be tweaked so they play at a safe volume by default, and it there will be a health warning when users attempt to override this setting.

According to European Union Consumer Affairs Commissioner Meglena Kuneva, "young people" are listening to music at high volumes for extended periods, and may not be aware of the risks involved. This comes after an EU scientific body warned that up to 10 million young people are in danger of damaging their hearing by playing their MP3 players too loud. Kuneva said 5 to 10% of MP3 users risk permanent hearing loss if they listen to blaring tunes for more than 1 hour per day, each week over at least 5 years.

The Commission plans to adopt the standards for new products after a 24-month consultation procedure with scientists, industry and consumers. I don't know about you, but I've thoroughly enjoyed blasting my music every day for the last decade. I suppose my ears are toast.

User Comments: 9

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poundsmack said:

talk about a waist of time. when was the last time you saw a teenager do one of these.

Teen: "man, this song is awesome! Hey a warning lable, 'loud music can damage ear drumbs.' Wow, I did not know that, better turn it down."

teenagers don't care, its not that they don't understand the risks. That aside, your average teen listening to music at an "unsafe level" (the kind of level that I can tell what song they are listening to from the other end of a train car), aren't very forward thinking in respect to their health.

...not sure why but reading this article reminds me of a news story I heard where a teen ran into a house party and yelled "the roof if on fire." to which someone responded "we don't need no watter let the..."

Next day on the channel 2 news: "7 people die in house fire" apparently the guy who ran in ran back out after no one cared what he had to say. c'est la vi

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:


TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

poundsmack said:

talk about a waist of time...

I agree. This wont make any difference IMO. People will still listen to their music too loud. But EU seems to have a compulsion to control everything, it doesn't really surprise me they are wasting time with this.

Guest said:


Different headphones provide different impedance and need to be supplied more 'volume' from the player to get the same decibel level in your ears. Will the EU regulate headphone impedance too? Give me a break!

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

A wise person would invest in hearing aid technology.

Guest said:

yay! loud music is evil!!! ban ban ban!

hm.. European Union i turning in democratic comunity, i wounder when they'll ban McDonnalds, Chips, Salt and other creations of Devil

Guest said:

Yet another example of the EU nanny state - I suppose the next thing is they'll try and bring in new legislation that removes alcohol from all wine.....

If they want to protect our kids' ears, let the parents do the job of,er, parenting!

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'd just grab a little Total BitHead or Total AirHead from Headroom and amp the volume back to normal. For those cheapie headphones that come with MP3 players, the power is ok. But for real headphones, adding an amp is the only way to go.

JudaZ said: short **** the EU. I bought my Cowon mainly because no other player could give me music loud enough. If they start limiting the volume I'll just have to bild my own seperate amp to give me more power. ...when will they get that..some old recordings are on really low volume. Then you need to be able to get some extra power. I'm not gonna normalize all of my 60.000+songs just in case some are lower then others...

Before my cowon i always had to run the mp3-players at max,and lacked that extra push when needed. iPod is a bit better and a bitt lowder, but cowon kicks ass.

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