x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

MP3 makers told to turn down volume

The EU tells music player manufacturers to set lower volumes after fears over teenagers becoming deaf.

BRUSSELS// Makers of MP3 players and mobile phones will be ordered by the EU to turn down the volume on their gadgets, to reduce the risk of millions of teenagers going deaf. Meglena Kuneva, head of the European Commission's consumer protection unit, said the proposed rules aimed at preventing teenagers from cranking up music volumes to dangerous levels. She said some music players can batter eardrums with sounds as loud as a jet aircraft taking off from a runway. Ms Kuneva gave manufacturers two years to come up with solutions to what the EU said was a growing problem facing 10 million Europeans.

As a first step, new devices would be changed to cap the sound levels as soon as buyers take them out of their wrappers, with a setting of 80 decibels (60 being normal conversation) built in as the default. "It can take years for the hearing damage to show, and then it is simply too late," Ms Kuneva said. "These standards make small technical changes to players so that by default, normal use is safe.

"If consumers chose to override the default settings they can, but there will be clear warnings so they know the risks they are taking." *AFP