Ok, I'm going to make this clear from the off: this is news which gives me an excuse to rant about iPod bundled earphones. If you use them then I suggest this article will damage your hearing...
Jolly European giants the EU have caused something of a stir this week with a report from their 'Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks' (SCENIHR - really!) which claims research shows users who listen to their MP3 players for more than five hours per week at a high volume (89 decibels to be precise) risk permanent hearing loss within five years. Apparently the slice of our populace in this predicament is between five and ten per cent of the entire EU.
"The scientific findings indicate a clear risk and we need to react rapidly," said EU Consumer Affairs Commissioner Meglena Kuneva. "Most importantly we need to raise consumer awareness and put this information in the public domain. We need also to look again at the controls in place, in the light of this scientific advice, to make sure they are fully effective and keep pace with new technology."
Ok, first the calm before the storm: the French famously got the ever popular iPod's maximum volume reduced on such a scare years ago so you'd think this would be less of a problem. Sadly no and here's why: BUNDLED HEADPHONES ARE AN INSULT TO YOUR EARS!
They lack range, fidelity, clarity and just as importantly: leak sound SO BADLY that not only do they drive anyone within 15 feet of you crazy, but you also have to turn your MP3 players up to full volume just to HEAR THEM on the bus, train or walking down a busy street! WHEN will people learn that a manufacturer spends pence on bundled headphones? They're an afterthought on a device often costing hundreds of pounds, they're the technological equivalent of the lanyard!
So please readers, tell yourselves, tell your friends, scare your elderly relatives if you have to that if you don't become more discerning about what you stick into your ears then you're GOING TO GO DEAF!
Press Release (yep, it keeps the EU tradition of being one uuugly website)