EU To Order Volume Limits on MP3 Players

earphones

For years, consumer and health advocates have warned about the dangers of pumping loud music into our heads using personal music players like iPods and cell phones: health and safety experts have long warned that most music players can put out music volumes that, over time, can lead to long term hearing loss—especially for folks who insist on tapping into their tunes for hours at a time. Now the European Union is doing something about it, revising its safety requirements for personal music players to reduce the risk of hearing damage from prolonged use: by default, music players will be limited to a maximum volume setting of 80 db—about the volume of nearby road noise or someone shouting—and manufacturers will have two years to come up with solutions.

“It can take years for the hearing damage to show, and then it is simply too late,” said the head of the EC’s consumer protection group Meglena Kuneva, in a statement. “These standards make small technical changes to players so that by default, normal use is safe.”

Players will still be able to push volume levels higher than 80db, but must provide a label or onscreen warning about the risks of higher volume levels on hearing. Manufacturers are currently required to provide a warning in the documentation for their products—but who reads manuals?

the 80db threshold is generally considered safe for prolonged exposure of up to 40 hours a week. However, even seemingly-slight increases in volume significantly reduce the amount of time users can be exposed before running a risk of hearing damage: for instance, safety experts recommend road workers be issues hearing protection for prolonged exposure at 85db; at 89db, the maximum safe exposure per week is five hours.

Many personal music players can output effective volume levels in excess of 100 to 110 db; 120 db is generally considered the “threshold of pain” and is about as loud as a jet engine. Currently France requires music players have a hard output limit of 100db.

Product Review

Samsung's $99 fitness tracker takes on Fitbit. Can it keep pace?

Samsung’s going toe-to-toe against Fitbit’s Inspire HR with its own $99 fitness tracker -- the Galaxy Fit. It also has a heart rate monitor, can automatically detect six workouts, and has a battery that can last for days.
Deals

Looking to upgrade? These are the best iPhone deals for June 2019

Apple devices can get expensive, but if you just can't live without iOS, don't despair: We've curated an up-to-date list of all of the absolute best iPhone deals available for May 2019.
Deals

The best Apple AirPods alternatives for Android, Windows, and iOS devices

Apple AirPods might be new and improved, but they aren't the only game in town. Other makers are offering their own truly wireless earbuds, with attractive features. These are the best AirPod alternatives on the market today.
Computing

Air, Pro, or just a MacBook? Here's our guide to finding the right Apple laptop

Apple's lineup of MacBooks has started to swell, leaving fans a bit confused about which laptop they should buy. Depending on what you're looking for, we'll point you in the right direction.
Mobile

Learn how to create a 360-degree panorama with your phone and Google Street View

Google Street View encourages you to explore the great outdoors, including landmarks, natural wonders, and even your own neighborhood. Learn how to create 360-degree imagery using your smartphone camera to add locations to Google Maps.
Mobile

Put down the controller and pick up the best phones for gaming on the go

Which phones are the best if all you want to do is play some mobile games? We've done the hard work and put together a list of the best gaming phones on Android and iOS, so you can keep playing and winning.
Computing

I bought a four-year-old MacBook Pro instead of a new one. Here’s why

The new MacBook Pros have a ton of advantages over the older options, but when it came to buying a replacement machine for myself, I found myself returning to 2015 rather than picking up Apple's latest and greatest.
Mobile

Apple will bring 5G to the iPhone in 2020, according to analyst

We're still many months away from the launch of a 2019 iPhone, so do we know anything at all about the 2020 iPhone? Surprisingly, the answer is yes, and the rumors are picking up the pace.
Opinion

Tim Cook said Silicon Valley built a chaos factory. Are Apple’s hands clean?

The King of Silicon Valley just called it a “chaos factory.” Giving a commencement speech at Stanford University, Apple CEO Tim Cook criticized his fellow tech giants for disregarding the privacy of their customers.
Mobile

Need a do-over? Here's how to factory reset an iPhone, from XS on down

Resetting an iPhone can alleviate all sorts of software woes, and wipe away personal data should you sell your device or give it to someone else. Here's how to factory reset an iPhone from within iOS or iTunes.
Mobile

Apple's iOS 13 Beta 2 is available to developers -- here are the changes

Apple announced iOS 13 during the keynote presentation at its 2019 Worldwide Developer Conference. This is the next version of its mobile operating system, which will come to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod near you soon.
Deals

You can grab the 2017 12-inch MacBook for $300 off right now, but act quickly

Despite the growing market for Windows ultrabooks, a MacBook is still what you need if you love the sleek interface of MacOS. The 2017 MacBook is on sale right now, too, but stock is limited, so act quickly before it's gone.
Computing

Apple's Mac Mini and MacBook Air are both great, but which is better?

Torn between the portability of a laptop and the power of a desktop? You aren't the only one. Apple offers great examples of both, with great unique and shared features for each. If we pit the Mac Mini vs. MacBook Air, which do you think…
Mobile

Nomad’s new Kevlar cables are seriously tough and seriously fast

Nomad has just released an update to its super-tough Kevlar range of cables to include a new USB-C to Lightning cable and a blisteringly fast 100W USB-C cable. They're expensive, but they're the toughest cables you'll find.