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European Commission considers regulating MP3 player volume

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 28 Jan 2009 12:57 User comments (12)

European Commission considers regulating MP3 player volume On Tuesday the European Commission sponsored the Personal Music Players Stakeholders' Conference in response to a study commissioned last Fall which found as many as 10% of people who use personal music players may be at risk for hearing loss. The study was conducted by the EC Health & Consumer Protection Directorate-General who issued their initial report in October.
In her keynote address to open the one day conference, European Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva indicated an interest in hearing from the industry and consumer interest representatives present to plot a course for future research, technology development, and potentially even regulation. She noted "The Scientific Committee opinion highlights that, if consumers use their personal music players for only one hour per day each week at more than 89 decibels, they would exceed the current limits in place for noise allowed in the workplace."

Last year's report warns "Literature data indicate that excessive acute exposures to PMPs music at maximal or near maximal output volume can produce reversible hearing impairment (temporary threshold shift) up to 30 dB at 4 kHz in some individuals after short time (one or more hours) of exposure." However it also cautions that more research needs to be done in order to answer a number of outstanding questions.

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12 user comments

128.1.2009 15:09

What about people that are already hearing impaired?

228.1.2009 15:59

The "nanny state" watching out for us!

This will be difficult to control... Some headphones/earphones are more efficient than others. So, you can set the maximum level with the factory-supplied 'phones, but if the customer uses something different, the actual volume limit may be higher or lower.

Psssst... Wanna buy some extra-loud illegal headphones? Psssst... Wanna buy an illegal headphone amplifier?

Quote:
...and consumer interest representatives present to plot a course...
Hmmmm... It seems like the "consumer interest representatives" are trying to lower the volume, while actual consumers are interested in louder volume.

Quote:
Literature data indicate that excessive acute exposures to PMPs music at maximal or near maximal output volume can produce reversible hearing impairment (temporary threshold shift) up to 30 dB at 4 kHz in some individuals after short time (one or more hours) of exposure." However it also cautions that more research needs to be done in order to answer a number of outstanding questions.

More research? This has been studied for many years... I think somebody is looking for research-grant money.

328.1.2009 19:56

Man, what a waste of $ to invest in... Everyone will just grab an "illegal" pair of headsets anyways.

428.1.2009 20:21

I've always hated the fact that portable devices were never loud enough. I use a digital player in loud enviroments. Ear buds and controlled sound levels do not allow me to hear my music at an acceptable level.
There is also the problem of connecting digital players to non-amplified speakers. A controlled sound level device can NEVER supply enough volume for these.
I would love to find an in-line earphone amplifier.

529.1.2009 3:07

Pardon, sorry what did you say.... lol dam all those years of using a walkman back then must have had an effect, lol or maybe it was the 1000W of Rockford fosgate in the car :-p

http://www.virtualvillage.co.uk/items/it...ELAID=190622225

629.1.2009 7:38

Why dont they just slap a sticker on the packaging? They already print warnings on cigarettes that they are unhealthy for you. I think that a lot of people already know that being exposed to loud noise can impair your hearing. What's next anti-loud music playing campaigns?
The government needs to back down and start to let the consumer make informed decisions on their own.
10% may be at risk. Doesnt seem like a lot of confidence to spend all the money and resources on another govnerment controled regulation.

729.1.2009 7:40

You know the next thing they will do is put tax like cigs on music players to compensate the goverment for the nhs having to deal with people who hearing has been damaged by personal music players. lol

829.1.2009 13:40

Apple already do this in UK which is why I had to take mine back and import one from from America. The EU volume limit is ok if your in a quiet enviroment but if your on a bus/train/outdoors etc you will struggle to hear it especially with the supplied Apple headphones. The difference in volume levels between US iPods and UK ipods is huge. I compared the difference between mine(US) and my mates(UK) using my Logitech Pure-Fi Anywhere speakers and with mine the speakers will slowly edge their way forwards due to the bass being so loud but with my mates its seriously muted and the speakers dont move at all. Poor show EU

930.1.2009 5:46

Well I hope all the idiots who were whining about the volume being too low on these players enjoy their hearing damage. Luckily, theyll be able to enjoy it for a long time as it tends to stick around.

I mean come on, that really is just the most retarded thing. If the environment youre listening to music in is noisy, then get better headphones. The standard supplied ones are often crap anyway, and turning the volume up to excessive levels (and that is what you are doing) will just harm your ears. You would be much better off paying a little money to get some decent quality headphones that supress ambient noise, theres loads available and they allow you to listen to music at a much lower volume while still being able to hear everything clearly.

Yes I understand about some players being underpowered for some external speakers, but if you gave a damn about the music you listen to you would get some decent quality powered speakers to play it through and throw out the crappy un-powered ones.

1030.1.2009 11:26

Originally posted by MarkPants:
Well I hope all the idiots who were whining about the volume being too low on these players enjoy their hearing damage. Luckily, theyll be able to enjoy it for a long time as it tends to stick around.

I mean come on, that really is just the most retarded thing. If the environment youre listening to music in is noisy, then get better headphones. The standard supplied ones are often crap anyway, and turning the volume up to excessive levels (and that is what you are doing) will just harm your ears. You would be much better off paying a little money to get some decent quality headphones that supress ambient noise, theres loads available and they allow you to listen to music at a much lower volume while still being able to hear everything clearly.

Yes I understand about some players being underpowered for some external speakers, but if you gave a damn about the music you listen to you would get some decent quality powered speakers to play it through and throw out the crappy un-powered ones.
I primarily use my iPod for hooking up via Aux cable into my car's stereo. I tried using a cheaper mp3 player with a lower max volume and even with both the car volum and mp3 player volume both turned up to max I could barely hear the music. With my iPod I can have both at a comfortable listening volume.

If the government starts to take control over the volume of music players, then the quality will begin to diminish, sales will drop, and consumers will stop purchasing as much.

All around I see the government stepping in as a bad idea.

1111.2.2009 5:42

Originally posted by ThePastor:
I've always hated the fact that portable devices were never loud enough. I use a digital player in loud enviroments. Ear buds and controlled sound levels do not allow me to hear my music at an acceptable level.
There is also the problem of connecting digital players to non-amplified speakers. A controlled sound level device can NEVER supply enough volume for these.
I would love to find an in-line earphone amplifier.
Totally agree with you, Pastor. In-line earphone amplifier for an earbud would be the ultimate kick-ass product. Turn it up!! Hell, I'm already half-way deaf from regular phones anyways.

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