iPods and MP3 players to be made quieter?

European Commission pushes for a new ruling on volume

iPod Nano
The European Commission in Brussels has proposed new rules on volumes for MP3 players in a bid to prevent users suffering from hearing problems.

Under the new proposals, the maximum setting for all MP3 players and mobile phones with music-playing capabilities should be 80db. Currently, the maximum volume setting on iPods can reach 130db.

Speaking about the calls for a ruling to be brought in, Meglena Kuneva, the EU Consumer Affairs Commissioner said that young people are particularly susceptible to hearing damage, reports the Telegraph.

"It's easy to push up the sound levels on your MP3 player to damagingly loud levels, especially on busy streets or public transport," Kuneva explained. "And the evidence is that particularly young people - who are listening to music at high volumes sometimes for hours each week - have no idea they can be putting their hearing at risk."

The Who's Pete Townshend has previously spoken about his fears for young people's hearing due to excessive headphone use, saying: "Hearing loss is a terrible thing because it cannot be repaired."

The European Commission's new proposals are now set to be evaluated by the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (Cenelec). The consideration process can take up to two years.

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