Young Frenchmen are rebelling against a law limiting sound levels in personal stereos by downloading special software. Ironically, this may imperil their hearing and jeopardize their ability to enjoy music in the future.
In France MP3's and iPods come with built-in volume limiters. This is required by a French law designed to protect the hearing of consumers.
The French law limits noise levels in music players to 100dB, requiring music player manufacturers to develop special software for their products for the French market.
Many French consumers strongly disagree with their government's attempt to protect them against hearing loss and tinnitus. They are circumventing the limit on music player volume by installing their own software to defeat the volume limiting software.
Many young Frenchmen, in particular, will rather listen to loud music than to their government, and a web site offering downloadable software to defeat the sound limitations in an iPod is among the most visited web sites in France.
Listening to music at excessive volume may be tempting, but it is also dangerous. Even at average sound levels of 85dB personal stereos may cause lifelong loss of hearing and, in turn, loss of the ability to enjoy the music.
Noise and hearing loss
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