domingo, 13 de diciembre de 2009
Volume turned down on MP3 players
December 13, 2009 at 7:53 am
An mp3 player
New safety measures are set to be imposed on all personal music players on sale in Europe within the next few months.
The European Commission wants all MP3 players, including iPods, to share the same volume limits after a scientific report last year warned that up to 10m people in the EU might be facing permanent hearing loss as a result to prolonged use of personal players at high volume.
European Union scientific experts have agreed that the default maximum setting should be 85 decibels. The user will be able to override this setting, and reach a top limit of 100 decibels.
In January a two-month consultation of all EU standardisation bodies will begin on these proposals, with a final agreement expected in the spring.
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.
Dr Robin Yeoh
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.
Dr Robin Yeoh, an audiology consultant at the Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust said: "More and more young people are referred to me by their GPs with tinnitus or hearing loss as a direct result to exposure to loud music.
"It’s the sort of damage that in the old days would have come from industrial noise.
"The damage is permanent and will often play havoc with their employment opportunities and their personal lives."
DigitalEurope, the Brussels-based body representing the industry, agrees safety must be improved.
But according to their spokesman Tony Graziano, "the solution must lie in a balance between safety and enjoyment of the product by the consumer".
"Eighty five decibels would not be appropriate because noise coming from traffic, engines and so on would obliterate the sound," he said.
Conservative MEP Martin Callanan, who sits on the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee said: "Kids have always listened to their music loud and this is not going to stop them."
He added: "You have to educate them to the risks but ultimately you have to allow personal responsibility and personal choice".
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