Turn Down the Volume

Calls to restrict MP3 players’ volumes are one step too far

Tags: MP3 Player
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By  Gareth Van Zyl Published  December 15, 2009

According to the BBC, the European Commission wants a maximum volume to be set on MP3 players to protect users’ hearing. Reportedly, up to ten million people in the EU face hearing loss as a result of listening to loud music for long periods of time. 

EU experts warn that people should only be exposed to a maximum of 85 decibels, but it’s been suggested that MP3 player consumers in Europe should have an override setting where they can set the limit to 100 decimals. 

Modern players can store a lot more data thus potentially exposing listeners to loud music for more hours as well. And the health problems listeners can begin to experience owing to this could include hearing loss or Tinnitus.

Tinnitus is usually described by its sufferers as being like experiencing a ringing, whining, buzzing or hissing noise. Its primary cause is often environmental, caused by being exposed to high levels of noise for prolonged periods of time.

Ever since MP3 players went mainstream, hearing loss and Tinnitus have been major concerns. However, is it really necessary to force listeners to tone down the volumes on their MP3 players when they are ultimately responsible for their own health? 

While the European Commission is at it, why don’t they then limit the top speeds on BMWs being made in Germany to only travel at maximum speeds of 140 km/hour? They might as well then also limit the amount of Swiss chocolate being sold around the world to each person, because somebody might just eat too much, become fat and suffer from obesity. 

My suggestion is that MP3 players should not have their volumes curtailed, but rather that they should go the same way as that of cigarettes. That is, warning labels should be clearly marked on the outside packaging of headphone sets and MP3 players to make consumers aware of the dangers of listening to their music too loud for too long. 

Ultimately, it’s the responsibility of consumers to look after their own health. If they want to listen to their music loud on their MP3 players, then, for sure, that’s exactly what they’re going to do. If they end up having humming, screaming, whistling or clicking noising as a result of Tinnitus then that’s their fault as well. But, at least, they then wouldn’t be able to say that they didn’t know about the dangers.

3316 days ago
Bill Williams

I think the EU is doing a good thing but of course one can argue if 85 dB is the right number. I wish something like had been in effect when I was a teenager because then my hearing would likely be a lot better now. I have never had a job with much noise so the main reason my hearing is now less than perfect is loud music - some may be concerts but loud music from earphones is certainly also a factor. If you love music then be careful with your ears! --------------------------------------------------------------- Bill Williams "http://www.legalx.net/advertise" "dofollow">lawyer marketing<

3319 days ago

I definately agrees with mark

3319 days ago

At 90dB hearing loss starts, the buzzing sound is from the tissues in the ear shaking consistently, until they fall out. Which is hearing loss. It's good to have such a move from the EU, however I do agree that it should be up to the consumer as well. I agree with matt that most kids wouldn't know the real dangers of hearing loss and will underestimate it. therefore imposing such a law is for their best. In my opinion, manufacturers should focus more on sound isolating/noise-cancelling earphones, along with a certain limit. 85dB is loud enough to enjoy music, and also would cause damage over a long period of time. But combined with good sound isolating earphone you wouldn't face much disturbance from outside noise.

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