EU turns down the volume of iPods

Natalie Apostolou
30 Sep 2009

Music device manufacturers have been ordered by the European Union to turn down the volume in order to introduce “safe” listening levels to consumers.

The European commissioner for consumer affairs, Meglena Kuneva yesterday ordered manufacturers to adhere to volume recommendations and build those limits into their players.

Under her new recommendations, the required sound maximum would be 80 decibels, although consumers could override that setting. According to EU research 89 decibels has been deemed an unsafe threshold, and device manufacturers have two years to incorporate the changes.

“We want to make consumers aware of this risk so that they can take steps to avoid it and we want to put technical solutions in place to reduce the risk as far as possible,” Kuneva said.

Cenelec, the EU standardization body, will draw up new technical safety standards after receiving the commission’s mandate. Industry body Digital Europe will work with the commission to update existing standards that will apply to future products meeting both consumers’ needs and health requirements.

The EC claims that up to 10 million listeners are at risk of permanent hearing loss,

with over 246 million audio devices having been sold in the EU over the last four years.

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