The European Union has demanded that MP3 player and mobile phone manufacturers decrease the volume on their output, in a concession to the risk of deafness. The consumer protection unit said that the new rules are aimed at teenagers, reports the AFP.
"It can take years for the hearing damage to show, and then it is simply too late," said the head of the unit, Meglena Kuneva. "These standards make small technical changes to players so that by default, normal use is safe".
That default limit is 80 decibels - about the same as a vacuum cleaner or alarm clock. It's possible to override those settings, but users would be then given a warning about the risks they're taking. "If consumers choose to over-ride the default settings they can", said Kuneva.
The proposals have a two-year timeframe for comment from the industry, before they're brought into force. Malcolm Harbour, chairman of the European parliament's consumer protection committee and Tory MP, commented: "Hopefully it will reduce the number of times we have to listen to the din of someone else's personal stereo on the bus or the tube".
The EU is also looking into the exploding iPhone phenomenon, with Kuneva saying: "If goods are dangerous, then we will order a recall".