EU to restrict MP3 volume levels

VOLUME restrictions for MP3 players are to be introduced by the European Union, it emerged yesterday.

Fears that listening to the portable music players at high volume could cause hearing damage has prompted the EU to act, according to BBC1’s Politics Show.

The EU plan to launch a consultation early next year with a final decision coming in the spring.

Stephen Russell of the European consumer lobby, ANEC, told the Politics Show: “There are up to 10 million Europeans, mainly young people, who are at risk of losing their hearing permanently in the next five years due to their personal listening habits.

“The units on the market at the moment, some of them are capable of generating a volume of beyond 115 decibels; now if we compare that with health and safety legislation, workers are not allowed to be exposed to that level of volume for more than 30 seconds.”

Dr Robin Yeoh, a consultant at the Portland Hospital in London, told the programme: “The experts and professionals in these fields are seeing a change in demographics, we’re seeing much less people working in heavy industry, they’re much younger and the suspicion is that a lot of them have been exposed to recreational noise, whether it’s clubbing, discos, but certainly personal music players play quite a big part in this... Once you damage the nerves of your inner ear that’s permanent, there’s no medication, no surgery, no therapies that’s going to reverse it.”

Experts in Brussels hope to impose the new maximum setting at 85 decibels. During recent tests some MP3 players were found to reach 120 decibels.

No safety default level currently applies.


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