EU To Lower Volume On Your MP3 Player / iPod?

Meglena Kuneva, Apple earbuds for iPod / iPhoneCommissioner for Consumer Affairs within the European Commission, believes that the volume in our iPod‘s and MP3 players is way too loud, especially for the young people.

EU previously made sure to reduce the volume on music devices to 100 decibel and now they want to lower it 80 decibel because their research shows a 10% increase in hearing damage or even complete loss of hearing – only because of music players, playing too loud music.

I remember some years ago where local laws said that mobile phones should have a shutter sound when a picture was taken, to avoid pictures being taken without people knowing about it. I don’t know what happened, but I see more and more phones in the recent years that doesn’t have a shutter sound and if it does, then you can easily mute it.

Personally I think the whole idea with the shutter sound was misplaced. If people wanted to take pictures of other people, they would just bring a Canon Ixus or similar small pocket cam, they would even get much better pictures than what the mobile phone could provide back then.

When it comes to music and EU putting down laws on how loud they should play, I’m not sure how I feel about it. On one side I believe it’s up to each person to decide if they want to destroy their hearing or not.

On the other side, I seriously doubt that every single person out there knows how too loud music can impact your hearing in 5-10 years from now.

100 decibel is a lot. It’s about the same as a passing subway train just 10 feet away from you, or a gas lawn mower 3 feet away from you. It’s also 16 times as loud as “ordinary conversation”.

80 decibel can be compared to a passing car (not sure about it’s speed though) at 10 feet distance or a garbage disposal at 3 feet and is 4 times as loud as “ordinary conversation”.

Two other things to consider when limiting the decibel devices can put out is the headphones / ear-buds, don’t they have any say in how loud they can play?  And then there’s the amplifier issue. Connect your device to an amplifier, external speakers, car stereo and you’re no longer limited by the device’s 80 decibel output.

… at least until EU decides to limit all devices to 80-100 decibel 🙂

But what do you think, is it okay for EU to limit devices to 80 decibel, like they currently limit them to 100 decibel?

7 thoughts on “EU To Lower Volume On Your MP3 Player / iPod?”

  1. I think it’s always going to be a debate no matter what the EU say about the output of portable players, it always amazes me that some people do have them so loud, I mean come on, as long as you can hear the music that is virtually rammed into your ear canals anyway, why have them so loud, I have my iPod set with a volume limiter so that I don’t damage my hearing and when I’m out and about I can hear the music and those around me can’t hear what I’m playing, but maybe that’s just me!

    • I totally agree and I also have a volume limit enabled on my iPhone – also just in case cause you can easily swipe the volume bar way up high if you don’t pay attention.

  2. I guess it comes down to a societal cost- it may be OK for someone to blow out his own ear if it only affects him, but what if the rest of us pay for it in the form of increased health care costs, or what if the loud noise makes people more likely to run traffic lights, causing accidents? Despite this, I’d probably still err towards the side of individual choice on this issue.
    .-= Evan Kline´s last blog ..Google Sidewiki: Tech-Geeks Shrug, Website Owners Twitch =-.

    • You raise some very interesting points.

      Maybe EU should just dictate that a warning sticker should be put on the box or something, so when you open up your new device you will see a warning telling you about possible damages to your hearing.

  3. That’s interesting. I find that the ipod volume is much smaller than a regular mp3, but maybe because I’ve never come across this type of technology and not been fiddling with it for a long amount of time. I always see the minimum volume in the middle bar of the Ipod. (Two times that I have used it anyway)

    I think we all have experiences where we just want to hear music as loudly as we can as we are feeling it, and then we maximise the volume to full blown heights. I think once in a while, it doesn’t hurt. I think lowering the volume on either MP3/iPod player, won’t make much of a difference as people who love loud music will still go to the length of getting earphones that will produce the right quality of sound that they want. What I do think this lowering of voluming will do, is to increase the awareness of the impact that sound can make on our ears and show us how sensitive our ears really are.

    On an entirely different note follow the Apple theme, what would be the best way of selling an iPod that has only been used twice, perfect condition with a clear through case thrown in too? (Aside from Ebay) I just had a thought, wouldn’t it be interesting to do an Article on the effective ways you can sell your used Apple products to other users who would make better use of it? (I always feel so easy here, expressing my thoughts-so that’s why I shared this too 😀 )
    .-= Ana´s last blog ..The deeper message from within =-.

    • If you like listening to music Ana, you just need to get the Denon AH-7000 – they’re around $1,100 … so please let me know how they play if you get a pair 😀

      I’m afraid I can’t help you much regarding selling an iPod. The prices in the US are very much different (cheaper) than from here and Europe in general, plus the only two ways I know of selling second hand stuff in the US is on eBay and Craigslist and I think you already know of those 🙂

      … and as I write this, it strikes me, you’re from the UK right? In that case, used prices are probably a bit more like what I’m used to but I haven’t been in the iPod game for several years now I’m afraid 🙁
      .-= Klaus @ TechPatio´s last blog ..Microsoft Opens The (Perhaps) Largest Data Center In The World =-.

  4. Dear Klaus,

    It is good to hear from you, and thank you for your recommendations. I no longer listen to music electronically, or music at all. I stopped listening to MP3 players about 5-6 years ago, and I listen to one song (on the vinyl) once every blue moon. (When I feel like it in other words-very rare) I prefer listening to someone play an instrument, live.

    Yes, I live in the UK and shall definetly take you up on Craiglist. It has been recommended to me before, and I shall definetly have a browse to see what it entails.

    Thank you again, and hope you are well.
    .-= Ana´s last blog ..The deeper message from within =-.


Leave a Comment