Apple adds volume limiting to iPod

Apple adds volume limiting to iPod

Summary: I've been ranting on the effects of loud music on hearing loss for a while now and it's refreshing to see Apple take efforts to help limit the hearing damage potential caused by the iPod - too bad it took a lawsuit to make them do it.

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TOPICS: Apple
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volume-limit.jpgI've been ranting on the effects of loud music on hearing loss for a while now and it's refreshing to see Apple take efforts to help limit the hearing damage potential caused by the iPod - too bad it took a lawsuit to make them do it.

I'm a big fan of live music, concerts and festivals and have been wearing ear plugs to loud music events for almost five years now. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that listening to loud music for extended periods of time can cause damage to your ears. Still, some people insist on listening to their iPods on near full volume for hours at a time. Then they sue Apple claiming that it's their fault that the iPod goes so loud. The analogy is to suing an auto maker because their car goes too fast and it caused you to wreck.

Yesterday Apple released iPod Software 1.1.1 that adds a new "Volume Limit" feature.

The new 1.1.1 software update for iPod nano and fifth generation iPods provides an easy way for you to set a maximum volume limit to prevent the volume from exceeding a certain level. You can also assign a combination to prevent the setting from being changed which is ideal for parental control.


As I have suggested in the past, it would be easy for Apple to avoid the exposure to further litigation by simply shipping the iPods pre-set to a lower maximum volume level and require customers to sign a release before giving them the unlock code.

As I have also said in the past, one of the best ways to protect your ears is to invest in a good set of in-ear earphones with custom sleeves. Sure, they'll cost you some bucks, but in the end they allow you to listen to your iPod at lower volume levels and hear more of your music. I'm currently listening to my iPod with a pair of FS-1 earphones from Future Sonics with custom fit sleeves and I never listen to my iPod above 50 percent volume.

What's your strategy for saving your hearing?

Topic: Apple

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17 comments
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  • Is this what it has come to?

    OK? I think everyone needs to take a step back for a second and just look at how people are handling things any more. I hope that it isn?t just me that thinks this is insane. The idea that people have no responsibly for their actions just boggles my mind. Yeah so what the iPod goes to loud well folks here is a novel idea, don?t turn it up that loud! Has society become so feckless that they have to be looked out for and taken care of by corporate America and politicians? This is just another example of sue happy idlers trying to make a fast buck and the growing fad that no one should have to be responsible for anything (that is of course with the exception of said companies). I strongly believe that if the media didn?t help propagate such behavior such frivolous issues would stay just that?
    vexed
    • Agreed.

      People need to take more personal responsibility for their actions. That is the essence of freedom. Sometimes you make errors, get hurt, learn from them or others and move on. Stop blaming others for your own mistakes. Suck it up and learn from your mistakes. That's what makes mistakes so great, they're learning experiences.
      bjgreenberg
      • While I agree

        You miss one point.

        Say I own an IPOD. Say I take personal responsablity for my actions and try to set the volume but low and behold I have no clue what the safe volume is. Say I decide to have head phones instead ear buds the volume setting would be higher in this case. But with Earbuds I'd want to set the volume max to lower. Is this not a good thing to have. Something learned by experience to be good?

        Still a lawsuit against Apple should also include every Walkman, Diskman, computer, stereo manufacturer out there. They all allow excessive volumes.

        Personally I think a display of harmful volumes would be appropriate. That way if I choose to exceed the time and volume recomended then it's my choice. I'd rather not be in the dark hoping I'm not exceeding either for very long.
        voska
        • Yep...

          That's what my cell phone does. If you crank any of it up to level 5 (the highest), it goes WARNING: Loud [whatever you're doing] can cause hearing loss. If I want to blare my music, by God, I'll blare my music.
          duane.wills@...
    • I agree too

      Ditto
      dragosani
    • How loud should you turn it up to?

      What's safe? How can I measure it? What is the safe time to use it?

      What you're descibing is like car tires the blow out speeds over 180 KM/hr while the car can go up to speed over 200 KM/hr. So what does Ford do? They put govenor in to stop you from going above 180. You can remove the govenor if you want but that's your choice and not Fords fault. With out the govenor Ford can have no idea of what tire you have on and if you can go faster. Your idea applied here of just letting people decide to not speed would not work and did not work here. Why would that thinking work with an IPOD.
      voska
      • OMG

        Where do you get that kind of mis-information voska?! LOL I want to go there so I can have more laughs throught the day. Goveners are not installed to keep tires from exploding AHAHAH that is extremely hilarious. I have been over 280MPH not KMH in a dodge viper and guess what the tires did not explode. The goveners are install as per government regulations to keep idiots from going over the speed limit or 100MPH here in the US. So please do some research before you make such acusations.

        Also I just bought a 3000 dollar amp and some 8000 dollar speakers... I bet if I turn that amp all the way up and blow the speakers my eardrums will go too. So who should I sue the amp maker or the speaker maker for not selling me some common sense as well.

        Any argument for the idiots who turned up there ipods all the way with big headphones on should fall on deaf ears... LOL litteraly and figurativly. I can sell you a bottle of water and if you dont drink it and die of thirst is that my fault? on the same hand I can sell you an ipod and some headphones and if you eat it and die is it my fault? or what if you turn the headset up all the way and hurt your ears whos fault is that? You see the argument will never end.

        Now to my point I am hard of hearing per say becuase of old age (not in part of the ipod LOL) and now with the new patch I cant turn it up load enough to hear it where I want to... Should I sue apple for making a product I cant use?

        You tell me
        Clownzer
        • Clueless

          Basic tires are not designed to take excessive speed. They heat up and burst. I worked 1 year in GoodYear plant I know. They also make high performance tire. These tire are for racing. You will not see them on a Ford Truck. I call BS on you.

          Also I don't believe you did go 280 Mph in a regular Ford Truck. Especially since that faster than the current gas powered land speed record. That's 450 KM/hour, the record is 320 KM/hr. Now if you're talking a jet car then maybe but that's not what we are talking about. Again I call BS.

          Maybe if you read the BLOG you see that all Apple did was add a feature that limited the max volume. The feature you set and you can lock it out so say your kids listen only at the volume you want. I think by your description you never have used head phone. Limiting the volume can be good. I should have that control. It should not be set by government but it should be able to set by me period.
          voska
      • your right about tire speed but....

        Yes ford does limit their car speeds and to be honest I don?t totally agree with that. Yes if your tires are rated for 120MPH you shouldn?t drive over that but you can buy tires that will allow you to safely go faster. I guess my point is my car should be able to go as fast as it can and I should be informed that it can go faster than is safe. At the same time I should know that would be a bad idea with out the proper tires. Apple does this with the warning that says that loud music can damage hearing. If you are concerned and don?t know what is safe look in to it and I have no problem with Apple saying ?ok people if you have it over volume X this could be bad, but software updates and lawsuits is just too much. Let?s inconvenience the world just because someone doesn?t want to be bothered by looking out for them selves.
        vexed
        • Law suits are extreme

          But sometime it's all a corporation will listen to. Not that I think that is the case with Apple.

          Still the end result is good. Much like in a car that is governored to a certain max speed I can remove that easily. Same as I can limit the volume to what I want it set to not what some tells me to set it too or I can choose to leave it as is. This is smart move by Apple but would they have done with a pending law suit?
          voska
  • Why not sue Sony or BMG

    It seems rediculous that it is apple that is being sued. Why not sue the people that create music that is loud? This may seem like a stupid question but there are many songs and bands that want their music to be listened to at high volume levels. Why not sue them?
    splayton
  • No one is suing Apple for hearing loss

    They're actually suing Apple for potential hearing loss. There are no claims that anyone has ever had their hearing damaged by an iPod that are mentioned in the suit. It's one step removed from that, and one step more absurd. The key figure behind the case does not claim any hearing loss, just that maybe Apple might cause hearing loss at some point.
    tic swayback
  • OMG you people

    This is NOT the same as sueing an auto maker because the car goes too fast. And it does not matter if noone has hearing loss in the suit. If you bought an electric blanket, and if turning it up all the way made it hot enough to get you 2nd degree burns. Would you question sueuing the manufacturer even if you didn't burn yourself YET?
    JSparrow
    • how would you know

      that turning it all the way up would give you burns if you didn't do it?
      Regardless, of course I wouldn't sue.
      If your dumb enough to turn up an electric blanket to max, and then just lay there as it gets hotter and hotter, continue laying there as the burns begin, and then STILL continue to lay there as the burns become 2nd degree, no, you should not get to sue, people that stupid wouldn't know what to do with the money anyways.

      People need start taking responisibility for their own actions and stop looking for people to sue because they did something stupid.

      I'm suing Budweiser because their product MAY make me an alcoholic.
      corticus
  • ipod

    Once again someone wants the manufacturer to take responsibility
    for the individual's inability to make good sound decisions for
    themselves. No wonder the welfare and social security rolls are
    overwhelmed. Take some freak'n responsibility for your own
    actions. Apple, early on put a volumn control on their ipod. The
    one on mine works great.
    Paul Carden
  • More than earphones in the audio connection

    There are about a million sets of speakers, earphones, earbuds, and such for the iPod and the audio connector accepts inputs for any standard 1/8 inch headphone. Each output device has a different comfort level for the volume control. Some earphones feel good at certain levels, others need the volume turned up louder.

    I like loud audio equiptment because I like to have it turned to 50% or less. Music and speekers seem to sound better when the volume is at 50%. I am not sure why that is, but any higher and you can start to hear a slight distortion.

    Some songs are recorded at a lower volume (the mix tape I had converted to MP3 via my line in port on my computer) and the sound needs to be where it would be uncomfortable on a song recorded from a CD.

    I liked having a volume control that I could crank up and just lay the ear buds down on the desk and still be able to hear my podcasts. I should probably buy a speaker set for my desk now.
    sail4sea
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