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EU Recommends Noise Limits On MP3 Players 360

Posted by Soulskill
from the protecting-you-from-yourself dept.
A story at the BBC notes increasing pressure from the European Commission to set standards that would limit the maximum volume on portable MP3 players. Their reasoning is that it would protect users from damaging their hearing after listening to loud music for extended periods. Quoting: "This follows a report last year warning that up to 10m people in the EU face permanent hearing loss from listening to loud music for prolonged periods. EU experts want the default maximum setting to be 85 decibels, according to BBC One's Politics Show. Users would be able to override this setting to reach a top limit of 100 decibels. ... Some personal players examined in testing facilities have been found to reach 120 decibels, the equivalent of a jet taking off, and no safety default level currently applies, although manufacturers are obliged to print information about risks in the instruction manuals. Modern personal players are seen as more dangerous than stationary players or old-fashioned cassette or disk players because they can store hours of music and are often listened to while in traffic with the volume very high to drown out outside noise."
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EU Recommends Noise Limits On MP3 Players

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 13, 2009 @10:17AM (#30422356)

    But how to do that?
    The effect used to play at 85db is not the same across all headphones.
    The small tiny ones that comes with the player normaly need less effect to reach 85db then if you get some nice big headphones with better sound.

    • They can do what they like so long as we can overide it. As well as headphone sensitivity there is the irritation of lack of drive for docking bases and the obligatory regulation industry that will be their choice implementation strategy. Its a pity they couldnt regulate the finance industry that has put so many people out of work. Still at least these useless bureaucrats are guarnteed a lifetime of employment followed by fat pensions payed for by my taxes.

      • The obvious method [instructables.com] to override.
      • by BrokenHalo (565198) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @01:21PM (#30423472)
        While all our governments are in a nanny-state frame of mind, they might turn their attention more usefully to the kind of amplification given to bands in pubs and clubs, where the dimensions of the places are often small enough to hear the sound of a mouse fart from one side of the room to another, but the bands turn up the volume as high as they can anyway. Or at least in a mathematically inverse ratio to their musical ability.

        It's common to see musicians playing with plugs stuck in their ears so they don't drive themselves stone deaf, while they obviously consider it perfectly OK for them to obliterate the hearing of customers frequenting the place.

        I realise I'm probably a tedious old fart, but I've long been forced to recognise that my hearing is far from what it was when I was a teenager or even in my twenties, and I hold many of these crappy bands to blame.
        • by John Hasler (414242) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @01:54PM (#30423688) Homepage

          > While all our governments are in a nanny-state frame of mind...
          > ...
          > ...[the bands] obviously consider it perfectly OK for them to obliterate
          > the hearing of customers frequenting the place.

          Customers who were abducted from the streets outside, dragged into the club, and chained down so that they couldn't escape.

          > ...
          > ...I hold many of these crappy bands to blame.

          Because you couldn't possibly be responsible for your own behavior.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 13, 2009 @02:11PM (#30423812)

            Because you couldn't possibly be responsible for your own behavior.

            Funny how telling someone to take responsibility for his own behavior has now become the best way to avoid taking responsibility for one's own actions.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by yankpop (931224)

          It's common to see musicians playing with plugs stuck in their ears so they don't drive themselves stone deaf, while they obviously consider it perfectly OK for them to obliterate the hearing of customers frequenting the place.

          To be fair, the musicians are essentially standing on top of the speakers, while the audience members can choose how close they are to the stage. And the musicians have to deal with the noise almost daily, while most of the people in the audience are there once a week or less. And the

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by erroneus (253617)

      That's an interesting point/question. The output of one set of headphones will be different from another set of earbuds. There would have to be some sort of end-user calibration process to get it right. And given how many people still have electronic devices that blink "12:00" I think any such requirement would result in a failure and a lot of wasted money for the added functionality.

      • by SpooForBrains (771537) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @12:49PM (#30423282)

        No, what would happen is that the levels would be calibrated either arbitrarily, or with whatever standard earbuds come with the device.

        Those of us that go out and buy decent earphones will then just have to deal with them being too quiet, and no one important enough will give a shit.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by torkus (1133985)

          And add the cost of "standardization" to all mp3 players? They'll all have to be certified? Just to have everyone who wants loud music immediately turn off the protection?

          Or they could ... I don't know ... let people make their own decisions OR let parents educate their kids OR leave all the retarded "you might hurt your ears" literature that every audio device already includes...

          Really, this is just all nanny state crap. Utterly unnecessary and a waste of time and effort that could be better spent on th

    • by areusche (1297613) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @01:32PM (#30423534)
      All in all that doesn't matter. This is just another example of ignorant politicians. As a sound designer these dB SPL levels are USELESS with a reference point. 85 dB SPL at 10 meters from a source is a busy room, while 60-65 dB is general room noise. Also 120 dB SPL is the threshold of pain. At or above that our body starts to respond by desensitizing and tinnitius. In incremental doses our body adapts to loud sounds. Limiting headphone output is a farce and manufactures should focus on limiting outside interference. Never use ear buds.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 13, 2009 @10:19AM (#30422364)

    Hearing loss is bad if it is caused by MP3 players, but it's okay when it's caused by police using crowd control devices against innocent civilians.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by fbjon (692006)

      Hearing loss is bad if it is caused by MP3 players, but it's okay when it's caused by police using crowd control devices against innocent civilians.

      How does hearing loss result from that?

    • by Raisey-raison (850922) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @02:49PM (#30424058)

      Hearing loss is bad if it is caused by MP3 players, but it's okay when it's caused by police using crowd control devices against innocent civilians.

      Yeah the cops get free reign. They also don't seem to care about the ill effects of being beaten up by a cop - really nasty health consequences there.

      Why can't the government get out of my business??? If I choose turn the volume too high - its MY problem. Leave ME alone!!!

      It's just like religion, opposition to abortion and stem cells on the political right - if you don't want to have an overly loud mp3 player, then turn down the volume (for yourself). Leave everyone else alone.

      Another example of the destruction of personal liberty.

  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Sunday December 13, 2009 @10:23AM (#30422382)

    A technical problem requires a technical solution.

    Instead of forcing media player manufacturers to implement a volume limiter, just force them to include a jamming frequency and allow third parties to sell jammers. When a person feels that someone's music is intruding on their personal space (in a bus, on a train, or anywhere that people are in close contact), a single button press could send a piercing squeal right through whatever audio the earbud guy had playing.

    This has two benefits. First, if there are multiple people around and it is difficult to determine who is listening loudly, this gets all of them in one shot. Second, if a person's earbuds are so loud that the sound is invading someone else's personal space, the brief tone should be enough to put their eardrums out permanently.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by iris-n (1276146)

      I'm having trouble deciding if this is a bad joke or you are just raving mad.

    • Second, if a person's earbuds are so loud that the sound is invading someone else's personal space, the brief tone should be enough to put their eardrums out permanently.

      Bad idea: they'll just push the volume higher to compensate.

      A better idea would be to fit MP3 players with HT circuitry with the earbuds as terminals. Pavlovian behavioural training and electroshock therapy in one!

      • by hedwards (940851) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @11:31AM (#30422796)
        If they're really concerned about deafness, they'd ban companies like Apple from including those crappy ear buds that everybody seems to have to wear. The poor fit and low quality virtually assure that the volume gets bumped up way higher than it needs to be.

        Personally, I like my shure e2c, sure they're expensive, but you don't need to spend a lot of money, just get a earbud that provides for a proper seal in the ear. I can have my volume turned down pretty much all the way on the bus, and I can still barely hear the noise from the rest of the bus.
        • by RESPAWN (153636)

          Remember, you're talking about the average user who goes out and buys a cheap RCA surround sound system for their house or who thinks that the stereo in their car is actually good. To most people out there LOUD == good. Try convincing them that the Shure's sound better.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by macraig (621737)

      A technical problem requires a technical solution.

      I wholeheartedly agree that it's the "wrong approach entirely", but you've misunderstood the nature of the problem and the solution. It's not a technical problem. Did you even read the summary much less RTFA? Your solution is focused on something else entirely, not within the scope of what was being addressed. This proposed authoritarian restriction isn't intended to keep music from being so loud that it bothers other people: it's intended to "protect" p

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by BadAnalogyGuy (945258)

        What you suggest is the Technocrat equivalent of Democrats throwing money at a problem.

        Quite the opposite. I am pushing a solution which requires greater personal responsibility on the listener and encouraging a community standards-based policing effort rather than a heavy-handed regulatory action. This is a very Republican solution, actually.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by macraig (621737)

          Even if that were true - and I'm not conceding that it is - it's not the solution to the problem being discussed here.

          Can ya at least be on-topic enough to agree that yet another Big-Mother-ish law isn't the solution to either problem?

    • by oldhack (1037484)
      Don't listen to this guy - the troll's got the patent on tinfoil "hat" for mp3 players.
  • Better Headphones (Score:5, Insightful)

    by secondsun (195377) <secondsun@gmail.com> on Sunday December 13, 2009 @10:24AM (#30422390) Journal

    Since we are going the consumer protect route, wouldn't it be better for headphones/ear buds to require noise cancelling technologies so the music doesn't have to be turned up as high?

    That would make it harder to hear things while driving, but you shouldn't have headphones in while driving.

    • by jabithew (1340853)

      I wear headphones all the time while walking through the streets of London* and I hate the thought of wearing noise cancelling headphones. I'd much rather hear the truck pulling up to the junction behind me than my music. Noise cancelling would leave me totally unaware of my surroundings, except what's in my line of sight, which is a fairly small part of the picture.

      * I'll show you something etc. etc.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by SBrach (1073190)
        They aren't magic. You can still hear. Besides, if hearing is your main truck avoidance mechanism, you've got other problems.
        • Re:Better Headphones (Score:5, Informative)

          by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@NoSPam.barbara-hudson.com> on Sunday December 13, 2009 @12:15PM (#30423050) Journal

          Besides, if hearing is your main truck avoidance mechanism, you've got other problems.

          People have been killed by trains because their walkmans (yes - it was happening even back then) were too loud. That's why some places have banned the use of ANY earphone-equipped music player when driving a car or riding a bicycle. And when you're driving, hearing is an important part of your awareness - not only for that "slightly odd mechanical noise" that might signal trouble down the road, but also such things as the noise-generating grooves along the right shoulder to warn people that they're straying off the road (or to wake them up if they're drowsing off), and the sound of the motorcycle or car that just pulled into your blind spot.

      • by Jesus_666 (702802)
        Read up on headphone technology. In-ear headphones (the ones that you shove into your ear canal) are available in "open" and "closed" configurations. Closed in-ears block virtually all noise around you while open ones merely reduce the amplitude a bit, typically by about 3 dB. If you listen to your music at a sane volume that means you can still hear much of what's going on around you.
      • by xaxa (988988)

        I wear headphones all the time while walking through the streets of London

        But do you wear them on the Underground? That can get quite noisy, and there's little to no reason for hearing what's going on around you, so plenty of people turn the volume up to drown out the noise of the train.

        I used to use a station with a lift regularly. I'd be on the train, and unable to hear anyone's personal music over the noise. Off the train and in the lift, I could easily identify songs played by others; they'd probably turned the volume up dangerously high without realising it.

        Don't Lose the Mu [dontlosethemusic.com]

    • There is no shortage of headphones that will deal with noise. Good IEMs (in ear monitors) do a great job. They are passive, they create a tight seal on your ear and thus attenuate noise in the same way earplugs do, and to about the same degree. There are also active systems for over the ear phones. However, in both cases, you aren't getting it for $10. Have to shell out a reasonable bit of cash. Well, that is hard with cheap electronics. Nobody wants to double the cost of a cheap MP3 player just for the pho

    • Wow, you really bought into their fake argument about protecting us, did you? ^^

      The real reason may be the listening in traffic. But who would profit from this?

      Because there always is one profiting. (Not necessarily money. Can also be power, etc.) Because that is what the motivation comes from in the first place.

    • by Jay L (74152) *

      require noise cancelling technologies

      Gah, I hope not. Noise-cancelling headphones make me feel like I'm in some pressure chamber. I've seen it mentioned by others, but I've never found out if it's because they really do increase absolute pressure when they play the cancelling waveform, or if it's just a psychoacoustic thing from comb-filtering. Either way, it hurts, and things that hurt your ears tend to harm your ears.

  • Rock On, Dudes! (Score:2, Interesting)

    Interesting. On the one hand, I think this is a good idea. Folks tend to (illegally) listen with the earphones while driving. Also, it seems that at least half of the people you pass on busy streets are listening as well - I wonder how many pedestrian accidents are related to missing auditory cues from the environment?

    On the other hand, I'm one of those people that tend to listen at full volume while walking. I had a friend one time tell me that he heard my earbuds from all the way across the street (
    • by fbjon (692006)
      You seriously need better earbuds that block out sound.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Alef (605149)

      My chronic tinnitus aside, if you limit my decibelage, I will find a way to crank it.

      And that's just fine. People are and still will be allowed to damage their hearing if they like. The idea isn't to "control" people, even if some reflexively seem to think that every time a government tries to protect it's citizens. The idea is to prevent that the market is filled with devices that injure people without them realizing it (typically teenagers). It is a pragmatic trade-off, reducing hearing loss at large whil

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Ironsides (739422)

        Personally, I wouldn't mind having an MP3 player that warn me with a "please override" message before I accidentally expose myself to unhealthy sound levels. When the ambient noise is loud, it's often very hard to notice how high you've cranked the volume.

        The iPod comes with a default sound limiter that you can arbitrarily change/set/overide at will and never be asked about again. Would something like that work for you?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by value_added (719364)

      My chronic tinnitus aside, if you limit my decibelage, I will find a way to crank it.

      Kids today. ;-)

      You may want to consider that as you get older, your hearing will start to go (you're obviously one of those who are on an accelerated path). Just as importantly, the music you're cranking up today will be forgotten. And if it is remembered, the memories will cause a sudden flush of embarrassment when realise what you regularly listened to was crap, and it was way too loud.

      Now get off my lawn.

  • by Nicolas MONNET (4727) <nicoaltiva@gmail . c om> on Sunday December 13, 2009 @10:33AM (#30422438) Journal

    The power delivered to the ears depends on the headphones. I don't know how they plan to do anything meaningful here, they would have to set the limit based on the most "powerful" headphones, which means that the lesser ones will be inaudible. I already had that kind of problem on Nokia phones, you can't hear for shit with them, the max volume is ridiculously low, esp. with their utterly failtastic brand headphones with their annoying 2.5mm jacks. I'm certain nobody will harm their eardrums with that, but I'm equally certain that I'm not buying a Nokia ever again to listen to podcasts.

    And BTW, it's not noise moronmitter, it's power. You can have lots of noise in very low power.

    • by Cillian (1003268)
      Funny, I get the opposite problem with my N95 - with my pretty sensitive sennheiser rippoff in ears, the minimum volume without being muted (10%) is too loud for me sometimes. I get a similar problem with my ipod (running rockbox) - the minimum volume is still pretty loud and it just mutes if I try to go lower.
    • by mobby_6kl (668092)

      My Creative Zen Xtra with the default EU firmware already limited output power years ago. Needless to say, I couldn't hear shit with my Etymotic in-ear monitors even at close to maximum volume (no, I'm not deaf). The regular shitty earbuds would probably be loud enough, except that in noisy environments such as public transport where the IEMs normally shine. Thankfully, reflashing the player with some other version of firmware removed this retarded limitation.

      Another situation where unlimited output was use

      • by xaxa (988988)

        Unfortunately, it seems that the EU has ran out of farmers to subsidize a long time ago, and now they have too much time to waste on useless bullshit like this.

        It seems you are under the mistaken impression that the national governments didn't have similar regulations anyway.

    • Uuum, must have been back in 2000. I got the 5800, and Nokia phones have had a normal jack for a loooong time. (2001 or so.)

      But about the volume. Yes, it’s not that loud. But the highest setting is definitely loud enough. I nearly never use it.
      Maybe it’s because I use $150 headphones... The first thing I do with every new device, is throw away the “headphones”.

      • Design does. You can get high end headphones that are very loud, because they are high efficiency and low impedance, and ones that are very soft, because they are low efficiency and high impedance. All depends on what they are going for in design. Little IEMs tend to be real loud at a given setting, big open phones tend to be real quiet.

  • by Manip (656104) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @10:34AM (#30422444)

    I have very bad hearing, have done since I was a kid (even had surgery to correct it). I listen to music roughly 10-15% louder than most of my peers. In a noisy room louder still. If they limit volume on my MP3 player will I have to hack it in order to listen to it at a reasonable volume for me?

    • by vvaduva (859950)

      Another example of government thinking they know better than you and I. We are stupid, they are smart, thus they need to make decisions on our behalf.

    • I don't use an iPod when I am out and about. I like to maintain my full awareness of my surroundings. There is only one situation in which I use a portable music player, and that is for a visit to the dentist to get a filling or a root canal. In that case, I want a noise cancelling headset pumping hard rock at 120 dBs to drown out the sound of the drill. The rest of the time, my portable music player sits forgotten in the bottom of my desk drawer.
  • by Norsefire (1494323) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @10:34AM (#30422446) Journal
    Did the EU say members of parliament have big noses?

    I must have heard wrong, you'll have to speak up -- I've been getting a bit deaf lately.
  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @10:34AM (#30422448)

    If a boom car is loud from three blocks away, imagine how loud it is in the car.

    A few days ago, I observed one of these insanely loud boom cars with a 3 year child strapped into the back. Too bad for that kid's hearing.

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @10:35AM (#30422454)

    My music usually doesn't surprise me with sudden shifts of maximum volume. But every time a program switches to commercial on TV, the max volume is a shit load louder and with more commercials than ever before that means fiddling with the remote every other minute. It wasn't always this way and is way annoying.

    • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted @ s l a s h d ot.org> on Sunday December 13, 2009 @11:21AM (#30422728)

      So why do you still watch TV in the first place? Go to eztv.it, or btjunkie.org, and let the stuff download on your home server. Fire-and-forget style. I even download whole shows. All series.

      It’s like a Tivo. Only that it’s free, and people manually removed the ads for you. :)

      I still use a remote and a big screen. Just that they are attached to my PC. (And that the screen is 9 feet wide and the sound is 5.1 :)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gbarules2999 (1440265)
        It's a pity that "just pirate it" isn't a typical reposnce for most issues people have with content they consume, isn't it?
        • It's a pity that "just pirate it" isn't a typical reposnce for most issues people have with content they consume, isn't it?

          Isn't it a pity that it isn't a pity that you'd like it to be a pity for what isn't a typical response?

    • by RESPAWN (153636)

      Actually, the Sleuth channel seems to be even worse at this than many others. They were recently showing a lot of James Bond movies, so I recorded several on my DVR. The volume during the movie actually seems lower than normal (I have to crank up the volume a couple of notches higher than most channels), but the volume during the commercials is insanely loud.

      I guess I can look at the silver lining here. More than once these ear splitting commercials have woken me up when I fell asleep watching a movie.

    • by xaxa (988988)

      ITV told to turn down the volume on adverts [telegraph.co.uk]

      I usually hit "mute" as soon as the adverts start.

  • What next? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Vinegar Joe (998110) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @10:36AM (#30422462)

    EU regs on the maximum roughness of toilet paper?

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @10:37AM (#30422466)

    The volume that you get out of phones depends on the voltage sent to the phones, which the volume dial regulates, but also the impedance and sensitivity of the phones, which it can't. So whatever limit you set won't work in all cases. If you limit it to 85dB for ultra efficient phones like the Ultimate Ears UE5s (21 ohms, 119dB/mw) it will be extremely silent on Sennheiser 580s (300 ohms, 97dB/mw). Likewise set the limit on the Sennheisers, and the UEs would still be able to go to extremely excessive volumes.

    This just can't be done. Unless you force players to accept only a certain headphone, you can't limit the output in this manner. The range of headphone is extremely wide. With speakers this is mildly feasible since most speakers are 8 ohms (though there are plenty of 4 ohm ones, and some 12 or higher) and generally in the range of 85-90dB/watt (though there are speakers over 100dB/watt). However with headphones the variation is too much.

    This will do nothing useful.

    • by bcmm (768152)
      I worry that they'll just have to add the cost of a built-in ohmmeter to all MP3 players from now on.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770)

        Well even if they do that, and then have it process for output levels, that doesn't solve the other half, the efficiency part. Different designs produce more or less sound given the same amount of power. Depends on the kind of drivers, the enclosure, how close to your ear, etc. As I said 580s have an efficiency of 95dB/mw meaning for one milliwatt of power (which in their case requires 0.5 volts) they produce 95dBSPL of sound at your ear. The UE 5 Pros have a 119dB/mw efficiency, meaning with the same one m

    • Then it will become illegal to sell headphones outside of a specific efficiency range. Yay. :/

      But hey, the point of this was not to limit the volume. The point was for someone to gain power or money. Find the one and you have found the answers.

    • In addition to all of that (which is totally correct), distance causes drop in sound pressure level at the eardrum as well. While it may not seem like there is that much of a difference change between old school over the ear headphones versus much newer inside the ear canal type headphones, the entire length of speaker-to-eardrum is short enough it can make a difference of a few dB.

      And with 3dB being half the power, 6 - 10 dB being half the apparent loudness, levels can drop quickly. The change between he

      • That is actually normally factored in with headphones. That's one of the reasons IEMs are so much more efficient is that they are in the ear canal. Generally the sensitivity expressed means "at the ear" for headphones. Of course people can always wear them wrong and change the distance.

  • MP3 players cannot control volume since they have no way of knowing how loud a headset/earphones will convert the output into. For example small earbud in-ear output extremely high volumes with very low powers, while "cup" headsets would output a much lower volume with the volume indicator set at the same point.

    If MP3 players for example limit volume to 80% you might wind up requiring batteries for several high end headsets that are currently on sale (even while the volume is extremely low).

  • by MindPrison (864299) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @10:46AM (#30422510) Journal

    many of my peers are listening to VERY loud music at the clubs, in their home, in their cars - with ridiculous oversized stereos etc. I'm pretty sure that the MP3 players alone won't make a difference at all.

    I'm in my 40's now, and I've been listening to MP3 players (including the first Walkmans/MiniDisc Players) since the beginning of my childhood, more than others...because I wasn't allowed to play loud music, and I found a great personal "peace" in listening to these - as loud as I wanted - wherever I wanted, any time.

    This never damaged my hearing in any way, I've had my hearing checked regularly, and guess what - despite always using headphones - yes - even today...to avoid problems with my neighbors - I still hear like a 20 year old. Responsive at 18 khz or better, while my peers - can't even detect a 15 khz tone, and they always play loud music on their speakers...which I don't even have.

    Go figure...

  • by David Gerard (12369) <slashdot@@@davidgerard...co...uk> on Sunday December 13, 2009 @10:51AM (#30422538) Homepage

    It's a pity the EU doesn't apply noise limits to public transport. The Victoria Line of the London Underground regularly hits 100dB. Travel on it to work every day for five years and your hearing will be permanently fucked up by it. Like mine.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      If only there were some sort of device you could place in your ears to dampen loud noises.

      • And I do indeed use the headphones for just that. However, the Underground is not going to admit what they've been doing to people's hearing without a strong push.
        • by RESPAWN (153636)

          You may already be using them, but have you considered a set of noise canceling earphones? I bought a pair for wearing while mowing the lawn and was extremely impressed. Unfortunately, the plug doesn't fit properly in the jack of my iPod, so I stopped using them when my old Creative MP3 player died and I joined the iRevolution. Back to ear plugs I went.

  • by nameer (706715)
    The number of decibels reaching the ear depends on a number of factors. The RMS voltage of the signal, the efficiency of the drivers, the style of the headphones, etc. Is the EU planning to limit the amplifier to a particular gain? If so, will my pre-loudness war recordings suffer as I won't be able to apply enough gain to get them up to even 70 dB? Won't this incentivise the recording studios to make the loudness war even worse (it sounds "good" at maximum gain!) Or will they monitor the RMS voltage after
    • Ya very bad choice with the jet thing. Right next to a jet engine? More like 140dB. 120dB is out in the open probably 200-300m away. 120dB is notable not in relation to a jet but in that it is generally the threshold that produces immediate pain and is unsafe, even for extremely short periods of time. However jets are much louder than that, hence the massive ear protection ground crews wear.

  • If we want to retain our hearing we can turn our volume below the maximum. If we want our children to retain their hearing many music players, like the iPod touch, have a parental control feature that limits volume.

    Please stop trying to protect people from themselves.

    • Re:Dear government (Score:4, Insightful)

      by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taikiNO@SPAMcox.net> on Sunday December 13, 2009 @03:00PM (#30424134)

      ...except here's a case where people don't actually know what's good or bad for them because the threshold for pain is higher than the threshold for damage, and it's not the Government coming out ad hoc on this issue, it was ear doctors who specialize in this field who have come out and said this needs to be done.

      What makes me really hopeful about this case is there's a place on earth where science holds sway with politics, not the other way around

  • Modern personal players are seen as more dangerous than stationary players or old-fashioned cassette or disk players because they can store hours of music [...]

    Because my Walkman with a dozen cassettes in the backpack, and my MP3 CD player couldn’t do that...

    [...] and are often listened to while in traffic with the volume very high to drown out outside.

    And here is the real reason.

  • I hardly ever use my iPod with headphones. Usually it's plugged into speakers or my car stereo. In those cases the signal quality seems to correlate to the volume set on the player, but the volume itself is set by the amplifier. Admittedly, kicking the volume up to the player's 100% tends to distort the signal, but setting the player to a level that would be "safe" in headphones is short of the best signal.
    • by eqisow (877574)

      You need to use the line out instead of the headphone jack to get live level [wikipedia.org] output that completely bypasses the internal amp circuity. Unfortunately, for the iPod this means getting a line out device that attaches to the port on the bottom.

      At any rate, use the line out for what it's intended and this won't be a problem for you. :)

  • Nanny state (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @11:14AM (#30422674)

    Since when is a government in charge of proper parenting? Have we now delegated "common sense" to bureaucrats?

    I certainly remember my parents warning me of the dangers of listening to loud music. I have warned my children. Because children rarely listen, I often have to reinforce this warning, and even take their iPods away when I catch them. This is called parenting. It's not 100% successful. My children are not drilled soldiers and so they don't always listen to me. That's normal. I didn't always listen to my parents, either. However it's my job to keep trying.

          The possibilities for one human to harm himself or others are limitless. Are we going to have to legislate each one? Every single law a government makes takes away something from the people. Yes it's stupid to deafen yourself by listening to loud music. However PEOPLE ARE ALLOWED TO BE STUPID. Laws normally help prevent or settle dispute between citizens. It's not right that you play your music on your stereo at full volume in your crowded downtown neighborhood at 3am. Not everyone out of your 400 neighbors is in a partying mood. It's not right that you drive drunk and plow your car into another because of your intoxication. It's not right that everyone in the airplane has to put up with your stench if you haven't quit smoking yet. However who is harmed, apart from yourself, if you wear headphones and crank up the volume?

          The real danger here, I believe, is that sort of legislation that is trying to accomplish one thing - perhaps some legislator is tired of listening to the tinny sounds of people's MP3 players cranked at full volume in public - under the guise of something else - "oh we're doing it to save people from themselves".

  • I've not yet heard of a portable music player that doesn't already have a volume control.

  • by Trogre (513942) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @07:52PM (#30426282) Homepage

    I trust my Ogg player will be exempt from this :)

"The vast majority of successful major crimes against property are perpetrated by individuals abusing positions of trust." -- Lawrence Dalzell

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