Congressman lauds Apple iPod volume control software update as ‘important first step’

Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), a senior Democrat on the House Energy & Commerce Committee, released the following statement in response to today’s announcement that Apple will provide updated software for their most recent iPod music players, to give consumers the option to set a maximum volume level for the device.

“I commend Apple for taking this important first step in giving consumers the tools they need to protect themselves from possible hearing loss,” said Rep. Markey. “There is no doubt that consumers have benefited from the remarkable innovation we have seen in portable music players over the past few years in terms of both choice and value, but we need to make sure to avoid preventable hearing damage that could turn consumers off to these devices permanently.”

“It is my hope that other portable music device manufacturers will follow Apple’s lead and give consumers the chance to set the maximum volume at a safe level,” Rep. Markey continued. “At the same time, further research is needed to determine with certainty the possibilities of noise induced hearing losses from these devices and safe limits for both volume and listening duration. The bottom line is that consumers need to know if they are at risk and what can be done to reduce the possibility of injury from these devices. Once consumers have this information they will be better able to use Apple’s new technology to protect themselves.”

Rep. Markey has lead the effort in Congress to prevent noise induced hearing loss from portable music players, and this January he sent a letter to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDOCD), National Institutes of Health requesting a review of the available scientific information regarding the impact of portable music players. In their response, the NIDOCD agreed that this was an area of concern, but the limited nature of the available research prevents them from offering the type of firm recommendations that are needed to ensure that consumers are fully protected from the possibility of injury.

For more information about Rep. Markey’s work on consumer protection and to see copies of his correspondence with the NIDOCD, check out: http://www.markey.house.gov/

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Related articles:
Apple releases iPod software update; provides volume limit setting for iPod – March 29, 2006
The useless iPod ‘potential for hearing loss’ lawsuit – February 05, 2006
Report: Apple iPod hearing loss lawsuit headed by Microsoft retained trial lawyer – February 02, 2006
iPod user sues Apple over hearing loss [UPDATED] – February 01, 2006
Pro-Microsoft attorney involved in anti-Apple iPod nano lawsuit – October 25, 2005

36 Comments

  1. next, the good congressman is going to ban rock concerts or sitting too close to speakers in a public room. so much for the sound of freedom! next on the list: air force and navy jets. in new mexico our legislature is only in session for a very short time each year. i think perhaps we should do the same time for washington. will rogers, and a lot of others were right: watch out, the legislature is in session!

    mw: head – use your head congressman (and a little common sense too).

  2. Oh shut up. It’s just a warning on the pack of cigarettes — this device may cause damage to your hearing. Use at your own risk. Adding this control is the equivalent of the Parental Controls features on the computer.

    Apple does NOT care to be the next asbestos. Good choice on their part.

  3. In world war II, the nazis were messing around with different kinds of weapons, and they came up with a speaker so loud that it could kill a man a hundred yards away in under a minute (I saw it on the history channel).

    Clearly Apple is nothing like nazi germany. Good.

    On the other hand, if you chop just a few lines off of the windows logo, you get a swastika.

    just sayin.

    MDN WORD: “Really” as in, its really true.

  4. There is no loss of freedom. The user gets more freedom. The user chooses to turn the feature on and choose the volume level or leave it unlimited altogether.

    This also gains Apple some approval from the dangerous pecksniffs in congress who might be needed to fend of lunatic legislation harmful to Apple.

    Good move, Apple.

  5. Oh, like I’ve never changed the volume on my iPod when grabbing it.

    If I can set a max db output for my third party, in-ear earphones, to keep me from accidentally messing up a membrane, then that sounds good to me.

  6. If you have your iPod, say, in your pocket and accidentally put two fingers down on the clickwheel, one very quickly after the other and on opposite sides, the wheel will interpret it as a very quick motion in the direction of the first tap to the other, and change the volume quickly and appropriately. This can either raise or lower the volume tremendously before you even know what you’ve done. It can be a little disorienting. I wouldn’t mind having this feature — too bad I have a 4G iPod.

  7. When will politicians stop coddling the public? This is so patronizing as to be repulsive. Unfortunately, I don’t see any chance of reversing this trend. This is the camel’s nose under the tent. Expect to see Congress increasingly willing to meddle in the public’s affairs. Anti-trust is the same thing. The europeans are attacking msft for no good reason. The marketplace is capable of sorting these things out.

  8. Make way for the next class action lawsuit (started by a lawyer on retainer from Microsoft of course) where people sue Apple for not letting the iPod get loud enough. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they did this, but I’m just sick to death of the lack of personal responsibility in the country. Perhaps the good Congressman could jump on that bandwagon instead of nitpicking the details of a product that is only harmful in the hands of an idiot.

    ABQ Peter, just wondering, you don’t happen to be a member of the Applequerque Mac club, do you?

  9. OH SO NICE OF THEM TO LAUD THE IPOD VOLUME CONTROL, BUT THEN THEY MANDATE MICROSOFT PRODUCTS EXCLUSIVELY OF ALL OTHERS

    Fsck off you slimy no good worm ridden peice of government sheet.

    “No, ashram going, acid dropping CEO of some hippy minority computing platform is going to force us to make any changes” – Rep. Edward J. Malarkey (while under the influence)

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