EU is considering volume limitations on MP3 players

The European Commission is going to publish plans this week that will propose to limit the volume output on MP3 players and cell phones that are capable of playing music. The idea is that the current MP3 players and cell phones are able to play music at decibels that can do serious damage to a listener's ear.

"Campaigners say a safe listening level is below 85 decibels for 40 hours use a week, but some MP3 players play music at up to 120 decibels. Apparently Brussels wants the maximum decibel level to be reduced from 100 to 80 decibels, with all future music players built to the new standard."

An alternative to hard volume limiting is to place warning labels on such devices letting users know about the possible side effects of listening to loudly. Also proposed would be a software prompt that when volume is turned up to potentially harmful levels a prompt would appear letting users know of the dangers.

These proposals are a result of the EU scientific committee that suggested five to ten percent of users of portable MP3 players risked permanently damaging listeners ears.

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How about a maximum volume setting which allows you to limit the maximum volume to a level that you choose. By default, it is set to the equivalent of 80db with the supplied headphones. Then, you can adjust the day-to-day volume as much as you like depending on your surroundings and know you won't push it above that limit. If you have different headphones that have a different output level (or you just want it louder), you can raise or lower the maximum volume. Then simply place a warning on that settings screen.

I'm sure there is a lot more the EU could be doing right now but lately it seems like they're trying to show the rest of world that they have some power and that they are serious, kind of like showing off to try and impress.

Limiting headphone decibel levels is another attempt at showing they can control their population, warning labels i can agree with, this gives the population at least some choice over their decision.

I wouldn't listen to music so loud if i could afford a good pair of noise cancelling headphones.

Mike Chipshop said,
Limiting headphone decibel levels is another attempt at showing they can control their population, warning labels i can agree with, this gives the population at least some choice over their decision.

So we should also not limit car speed because that means they control us? You have no idea how stuff it should be, yet you brag because it seems bashing EU is cool nowadays.

Glendi said,
So we should also not limit car speed because that means they control us? You have no idea how stuff it should be, yet you brag because it seems bashing EU is cool nowadays.


They don't limit car speed directly in the way that they are proposing here, except maybe through voluntary agreements at very high speeds well above the statutory limits. Plus, speeding often affects more than just the person driving the speeding vehicle.

Wow, do they have anything else to worry about? idk, like maybe putting their effort into solving their economic crisis?

I agree but why stop there if they're concerned about ear damage, why not car stereos for example? Mid volume is about as high as you want to go in my car anything higher is just too loud and therefore pointless.

its not just about hearing damage, its about the disturbance which it causes as well... lowering the db from people's headphones when your in a bus with them is something like lowering the power output of someone's car stereo driving past your house

I don't care so much about maximum volume as i do minimum. I have one mp3 player that with noise cancelling headphones is still too loud on the lowest setting for me. I don't use my ipod nano anymore (because I hate iTunes on windows) but I appreciate the fact that its got settings for controlling min/max.

There's a HUGE issue with these regulations:

The levels they set are always tied to the headphones that ship with the player.

If you swap the default headphones for a better pair, and it happens to be a pair that needs a lot more power to drive them (e.g. full-size cans usually need far more power than in-ear headphones) then you can't get the volume up to a decent level, and nowhere near the EU's maximium level.

it could be very simple... for mp3 players which come with headphones, the combination would be subject to the volume limit...
the volume limit ruling could be supplemented with mandatory warning signs on all 3rd party headphones and stuff...

Regulating this stuff will help minimize idiotic lawsuits by 'victims' who are shocked--SHOCKED!--to notice hearing loss after listening to their ipods on max volume all day. Nobody is going to have any trouble hearing 80db. The people commenting that this is stupid are, I am confident, completely 100% ignorant of what 80db sounds like. Get over your ignorance, and maybe you'll stop sounding like a bunch of 16 year olds who drive with their windows down so the whole world can feel your jam. We get it. You don't listen to music because you actually appreciate music. You listen to it for the 'pump'. The raw noise of it all.

Buy a farking dialup modem.

Another example of nanny state trying to control what population can and can not do. And there are some people that apparently are OK with that.

In related news: car manufactures should make cars that can not be driven over the legal speed limit. Irons and stoves should not be too hot so people can not burn themselves. And yeah - a bicycle should not be able to be ridden unless you have government approved safety equipment because - obviously - youth can not decide for themseves what is right and what is not.

And there are some people that apparently are OK with that.

We are if it means it will cost us less, and prevent us from getting hearing problems, should we or anyone else listen to their music too loud, accidently or through ignorance.

manufacturers should focus on making earbuds which block out more noise from the outside , so the earbuds seem to be louder, rather than outputting more raw power...people generally increase the volume to drown out ambient noises... less power and more sound isolation also means less leaked sounds from other people listening to their music loudly...

Looking at the recent headlines in newspapers I find this a good proposal. The youth doesn't seem to control their "common sense" when it comes to audio any more.

suggested five to ten percent of users of portable MP3 players risked permanently damaging their ears.

Yes, voluntarily by their own choice. Just one more thing the EU has to control for it's people rather than assuming that people can make their own decisions and run their own lives. How insulting for its people.

C_Guy said,
Yes, voluntarily by their own choice.

I think you overestimate their intelligence and that they're aware of this risk. I don't think they voluntarily want to damage their damn ears.

C_Guy said,
suggested five to ten percent of users of portable MP3 players risked permanently damaging their ears.

Yes, voluntarily by their own choice. Just one more thing the EU has to control for it's people rather than assuming that people can make their own decisions and run their own lives. How insulting for its people.

Voluntarily? Nobody knows what level of volume damages your ears. My phone already has a warning system, if I set it too loud it says that it 'may damage your hearing'. That is very helpful.

I hope this might eventually reach the US. I absolutely hate it when people put their headphones on full blast in the train, especially if it's some hip-hop sh*t.

Also proposed would be a software prompt that when volume is turned up to potentially harmful levels a prompt would appear letting users know of the dangers.

I'm sure my Sony Ericsson phone already has that (with ringtones though and not the music playing features for some reason)

Oh go away. I know when I'm listening to my music too loudly, and if I choose to carry on I shall do so. You don't need to regulate absolutely everything in my life!

what said,
Oh go away. I know when I'm listening to my music too loudly, and if I choose to carry on I shall do so. You don't need to regulate absolutely everything in my life!

No, you don't know that. That's the problem. See also above -- you feel pain after you have started to risk hearing loss, and hearing loss is something that creeps onto you and you notice too late. I sure wouldn't mind a warning if I crank something up to 100 dB. Jeez, it's just a warning. More annoying things happen in this world.

Volume is only one cause of hearing damage. Crappy audio compression doesn't help either. I'd like to see them outlaw 128k mp3s as well.

But surely knives are too sharp too, and we could hurt ourselves...!!

Thats ridiculous... Ive had to send an mp3 player back before cos it simply wasnt loud enough, and no, I dont just like listening to things a full blast.. they are my ears, surely its my choice???

DrScouse said,
But surely knives are too sharp too, and we could hurt ourselves...!!

Except that you don't feel pain until about 118-120 dB, and if you listen at 100 on a regular basis, your hearing will be irreversibly damaged by the time you notice something's wrong. Cutting yourself with a knife is hard not to notice.

java2beans said,
Next thing you know they'll limit the brightness of your light bulb so you don't go blind from staring at it too long.

+1

java2beans said,
Next thing you know they'll limit the brightness of your light bulb so you don't go blind from staring at it too long.

Or the duration of your speech so you don't go more dumb.... I mean, go dumb from speaking too long.

ahhell said,
Don't these guys have something more important to do?

Such as what? Screw with MS some more. Can't always pick on just one guy, man!!

A warning label? What good is that going to do. Any brain dead moron knows that cranking crap in your ears is gooing to effect your hearing! Duh!!

cork1958 said,
Any brain dead moron knows that cranking crap in your ears is gooing to effect your hearing! Duh!!

The original idea is to put a limitation, but if manufacturers really want higher volume they need to put warning labels.

And no, your last statement is bull****. Like the article says, 80dB won't affect your hearing. Do all 'brain dead morons' know the limit to good hearing?

ahhell said,
Don't these guys have something more important to do?

Since in EU, most of the health system is public then, the more wealth is the population then the less the State spend money in treatment.

cork1958 said,
A warning label? What good is that going to do. Any brain dead moron knows that cranking crap in your ears is gooing to effect your hearing! Duh!!

You underestimate morons.

I'd rather them outlaw teens playing their crappy dance tracks on their mobiles at full volume on public transport. It's bad enough when they're using headphones, "puc ting puc ting puc ting ding ding etc etc" but it's just takes the pee when it's on the phones speakers.

Anyway, that aside, isn't the decibel playback level very much part of the headphones spec as well? Like, if you have bigger fancier headphones and you want to use them, don't you generally need to turn up the "volume" up a little more than on your in-ear buds that came with your device, to reach the same level?

The local bus company up our way actually used to stop and turf the kids out if they done it and didn't turn it down when asked.

Chonson said,
Anyway, that aside, isn't the decibel playback level very much part of the headphones spec as well? Like, if you have bigger fancier headphones and you want to use them, don't you generally need to turn up the "volume" up a little more than on your in-ear buds that came with your device, to reach the same level?

It depends on the headphones' sensitivity (SPL/1mW), not necessarily on the form factor.

Good. Take that, girlfriend listening to ****ty Korean pop bands.
120 decibels is like going to a ****ing concert and staying right in front of a speaker.