New standards to lower Apple iPod’s default volume in Europe

“Media players like Apple’s iPod will be set by default to a new, lower, ‘safe’ volume level in Europe, thanks to a new rule passed by the European Commission Monday,” Katie Marsal reports for AppleInsider. The rule states that listening at 80 decibels adjusted should not exceed 40 hours per week, while 89 decibels should be limited to 5 hours each week. Settings on devices like iPods will be based on those criteria.”

“‘EU standards are not mandatory, however if the new standard is approved by the European Commission and published in the Official Journal of the European Union, it ‘de facto’ becomes the industry norm,’ the commission said. ‘Products meeting those standards are presumed safe -– otherwise manufacturers have to go through costly independent testing for products. The new safety standards will apply only to future products,'” Marsal reports. “The commission sent a mandate to the European Union’s standardization body Monday. It requires that the new technical safety standards be drawn up, and implement the standard ‘soon.'”

Marsal reports, “Under the new rules, higher exposure levels are permitted, but the user must willingly select them after being presented with a warning of the risks and ways to avoid them. How the warnings are provided would be up to the manufacturer, whether it’s a label or something that displays on the device’s screen. Currently only a warning in the instruction manual is required.”

Full article here.


  1. These dumbass bureaucrats in Europe have to justify their useless existence by cranking out stupid rules. This probably took tens upon tens of wasted flights, hundreds of thousands in cross language translations, thousands of phone calls, thousands of emails, thousands of miles in cars, tens of thousands in hotel expenses, on and on and on.

    Its a fscking circus of waste.

  2. BFD….Pussy’s can”t even fight a War without the U.S.A…..They should be kissing our ASS every chance they get…And don”t even get me started a bout France!!!! B

  3. Oh hear we go again EU dictatorial madness, they have banned the 100 watt light bulb and now trying to tell how we should listen to our music. The must be really bored or have nothing better to do with there time whilst claiming huge expenses which come out of our pockets.

  4. I am in England and we already have a volume limiter on our ipods, I was going to by my next one from the US. I find it annoying that the EU have to get involved once more – talk about BIG BROTHER !!!!

  5. Hmm, well I can already limit the maximum volume on my iPod voluntarily – how nice of the Nanny State to step in now and tell me “no, HERE’S how you’re going to do it”.

    Next thing you know, they’ll be installing sound level sensors in all the cars, which automatically turn down the volume of the sound system if the music gets too loud. Hey, if they’re going to mandate portable music player volumes, why stop there?

  6. Hearing loss is not always noticed until years later. Those who simply want to crank it up regardless of their future ability to hear all frequencies of the music they like are simply stupid, and often YOUNG and stupid.

    Your loss…

    If it can be cranked up, it will be. Some really do need to be protected from themselves.

  7. There is a good reason for this law. Apparently, too many people are just irresponsible with their volume. As Loss said, hearing loss comes without noticing, and it is irreversible. This costs a lot of money in health spending later on. With the introduction of the Walkman in the 70s, there was a marked increase in incidence of hearing loss among teens and young adults. By the time we got Discman and MP3 player, the amps became more powerful, the headphones became louder and the hearing loss issue became worse. Today, iPod has one of the most powerful amplifiers among all portable devices (some stories indicate that Steve Jobs is to blame, him also suffering from partial hearing loss). After some threats of class-action suits in the US, Apple agreed to set the default maximum volume to somewhere around 70% of max power. You could change it manually in your iPod preferences, but out of the box, it wasn’t as loud.

    Well, since EU is not nearly as litigious society as the US, there was no threat of a law suit there (never mind class-action), so in order to reduce max volume, a law was needed.

    There is no way any reasonable, intelligent and mature person could ever convince a teenager that listening to his iPod at max WILL most certainly damage his hearing. If it can be cranked up, he’ll crank it up. In America, everyone loves to sue each other, so laws aren’t always necessary. Elsewhere, they are the only tool to protect children’s ears (not to mention many ignorant adults).

  8. Oh, and by the way, Harley Davidson, as it is sold in the US, would be illegal in most jurisdictions in EU. The level of noise pollution coming out of it is just plain unbearable. I have no problem with the owner losing his own hearing from riding that monstrosity. I don’t want my kids ears to keep ringing for two days after a selfish moron rides on an American Harley through my street.

  9. @ Predrag,

    That’s a major gripe I’ve had for years. Many Harley owners alter the exhaust system to make them even louder, but they don’t seem to ever get cited for it. But if I get a hole in my car’s muffler you can bet your sweet ass I’ll get ticketed.

  10. Great support for responsible listening. But I’m not sure I’d single out Harleys. There are plenty of other bikes whose noise levels and frequencies are even more offensive to me than an unmodified Harley. That said, years ago I rode a scooter across the US twice. I do enjoy riding though I have not had a bike for many years now. But noise was an issue to me, even when I was riding them. I didn’t ride for the noise and always looked for quieter machines.

  11. I’m pretty sure this is Obama’s fault too. He has a super elite force trained by Acorn to suppress everyone’s hearing around the world. They he says “look it’s working in europe” then he pushes through legislation to lower all volumes here so people can’t hear their freedom being stripped from them. Next he will assemble a task force to work on lower the wattage of all lightbulbs under the guise of saving energy. This is so we can’t see our freedom being stripped away.

    Final Target! He will attempt to blot out the Sun.

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  12. @Predrag/Gates,

    All Harley Davidsons are sold with factory-installed exhaust systems that meet or exceed all the same federal and state noise and emissions laws that govern all the rest of the manufacturers’ models. The bikes you guys are referring to are either Harleys with owner- or dealer-installed aftermarket exhausts or smaller custom builders’ bikes. Regardless, they’re no different than the obnoxiously loud and annoying fart-pipe mufflers the kiddies put on their rice-burners (both cars and bikes). They’re all loud, and they can call be ticketed where they’re breaking the law.

    I’ll just point out one thing, though. Most bikers know a fellow biker that has been hit or killed by some moron in a car, and the excuse is always the same: “But, I didn’t SEE him!” Enter the loud pipes. They may be obnoxious, but at least you know I’m there!

    “Loud pipes save lives” – not just a bumper sticker slogan.

    Now, back to the discussion of over-zealous, totally intrusive, nanny-state government regulation. Expect for more regulation of any and all potentially dangerous activities, including but not limited to skydiving, motorcycle riding, bicycle riding, and eating or drinking high-calorie or high-fat foods. No, I’m not kidding. The fast-food tax, Twinkie tax, and Pepsi taxes are all coming – it’s only a matter of time.

  13. @ Gabriel
    “Next thing you know, they’ll be installing sound level sensors in all the cars, which automatically turn down the volume of the sound system if the music gets too loud.”

    Great idea, I’d like to see this implemented especially in cabs, since I’m rarely able to convince cab drivers to turn down the volume.

  14. I think anyone caught listening at too high a volume should be arrested and jailed. After all, who better to protect people from themselves than their government. And what better way than putting them in jail.

    Then again, maybe I’ve got it backwards.

  15. @ ecrabb,

    I agree that Harley stock exhaust systems aren’t bad, but the majority of obnoxious altered bikes I hear are H-Ds. I still wouldn’t mind having one of my own though (stock, that is).

    Another gripe I have is that it seems like anyone who delivers the morning newspaper at 3:00 AM doesn’t have a freakin’ muffler on their car. Never fails.

  16. Got to love big government EU!

    I suggests that if Democrats (and some idiot Republicans) wants to have fun running big governments, they should move to Europe. France would be a great start, but also the Nordic countries.

    Just let the people alone in the US, remember that we actually left Europe to get free from the heavy hands of the stupid government (wether it may be Kings, Popes or Presidents).

  17. I wanted to cross the street somewhere in the USA today and I had to wait for a stupid light to come on and tell me that I am “permittted” to cross the street. It even said “walk”. If I cross the street when it does not say walk I can be fined for something called “jaywalking”. It is for my “safety” they tell me.

    How ludicrous and “big brother” like! In other free nations you can cross anywhere on the street that you deem is safe, as long as you don’t block traffic. No one will stop you.

    I also remember when we wouldn’t even fund our own “Gulf War”. We begged for funding from countries like Japan ($10 billion) and Germany ($6.6.billion).

  18. Blah blah blah whining, blah blah.
    The majority of music players are used by young people. Young people usually turn the volume at max. Many of them don’t think about health issues.
    Loss of hearing is a real problem.

    If the younger ones don’t protect themselves or don’t care about that, there should be a law to protect them. Even if they don’t want to.

    Is this unfair?
    Think about the seat belts in your car. There was a time when that didn’t exist.
    Then the law came to protect the users. And, as always, the whiners whined.

    Don’t blame the europeans.

  19. I cannot believe the idiots who post here are adults. Who gives a rats ass if they pass a law to protect children, who gives a rats ass about anybody but themselves anymore. Morons. We are all in this world together, even fools who ride motorcycles.

  20. I’ll just point out one thing, though. Most bikers know a fellow biker that has been hit or killed by some moron in a car, and the excuse is always the same: “But, I didn’t SEE him!” Enter the loud pipes. They may be obnoxious, but at least you know I’m there!
    “Loud pipes save lives” – not just a bumper sticker slogan.

    Except, I guess, during Bike Week in Daytona Beach when all you can hear, all day and night, are the thousands of bikes with loud pipes.

    You don’t always know where they are by the sound, especially when riders dart in and out of traffic or do stupid stuff like pull wheelies at 80 mph on the interstate (yes, really) or ride down the center line between two lanes of cars.

    The “loud pipes saves lives” may be valid with one or two bikes. But when you have thousands of motorcycles with loud pipes roaming the local roads, it’s just an empty saying.

  21. I just love the “loud pipes save lives” joke. What a cop out! The very assholes that use that joke slogan to justify their obnoxiousness don’t even wear helmets.

    The slogan should properly say “loud pipes make me feel better about my small penis”.

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