EUROPE-WIDE limits on noise levels from MP3 players and mobile phones will be proposed next week following scientific warnings about the risk of permanent hearing damage from “in-ear” music systems.
The quality of music reproduction at high levels on tiny players is now so good that more people are turning up the volume — risking long-term hearing loss. But the noise limits to be recommended by the European Commission will be advisory — with individuals able to turn up the volume beyond the “default” maximum if they wish to.
An EU safety standard already exists restricting the noise level of personal music players to 100 decibels, but the scientists said the danger level was long-term exposure to music pumped into the ears above 89 decibels. At that level, users of personal music players are exposed to higher noise levels than allowed in factories after just five hours’ listening.
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