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."