Lower PMP volume defaults to fight hearing loss planned

Thanks to a new European Union ruling, any PMP sold in Europe will soon need to have a lower default volume level so as to avoid ear damage.  The so-called "safe exposure" levels will be a condition of sale for any MP3 player, including Apple's iPod range, though users will be able to override the settings if they choose.

The ruling also calls for more obvious information on the dangers of hearing loss presented by unduly loud headphone use to be included on PMP packaging.  According to the EU research, five years of high-level volume for just one hour per day could lead to permanent hearing loss; more recent MP3 players, they suggest, are capable of maintaining high quality sound while at louder volumes, and as such users are not discouraged from turning up their PMPs by distortion.