EC to demand quieter MP3 players

The European Commission is expected to demand lower default sound levels for all MP3 players sold in Europe.

The new regulations aimed...

The European Commission is expected to demand lower default sound levels for all MP3 players sold in Europe.

The new regulations aimed at preventing damage to hearing are expected be announced by senior European Union officials today, according to the Financial Times.

Although users will be able to override the sound level settings mandated by the EC, officials hope to prevent millions of users from hearing loss.

The EC will mandate that Information about the risks of damage to hearing is printed on the packaging of all MP3 players sold in Europe.

iPod maker Apple introduced software in 2006 to enable users to set noise limits after the firm was accused contributing to hearing loss in a US lawsuit.

The lawsuit claimed the iPod music player could produce sounds of up to 115 decibels, even though some studies have shown that listening at that level can cause hearing damage.

According to the EU's scientific research arm listening to MP3 players at high levels for an hour a day can lead to permanent hearing loss in five years.

Up to 10 million of the 100 million Europeans who use MP3 players on a daily basis could be affected, the researchers said.

The research showed exposure to music above 89 decibels could cause damage.

Two thirds of users of MP3 players in the UK listen to music at levels above 85 decibels according to the Royal National Institute for the Deaf.

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