Originally Posted by postguru
What we need is LESS government control over what is and is not 'good' for us.
You cannot effectively control how 'loud' someone's MP3 player is, all this will do is lower the user's enjoyment of their music. As someone else pointed out, the volume of music is totally dependent on the music source - unless the manufacturers have some way of measuring the actual decibel level of each song (and also different 'passages' in that song), there is no way this will do anything other than hurt the user experience.
I am a 59 year old recording engineer that played in rock bands for 20 years. I also find that the 'stock' Apple earbuds are not loud enough for me to accurately hear all the types of music that I listen to, so I have purchased very expensive headphones just to get the volume that is required for me to hear the music at a level that where I can 'feel' the emotion. As a recording engineer, I can tell you that there are MANY parts in a song that are very rarely heard by the average user because they require good equipment and a decent volume to hear. These parts are purposely recorded and mixed at a subconscious level - they are intended to add to the 'feel' or 'emotion' of a song without taking away from the primary instrumentation. I like to listen to my music at a level that is just barely enough for me to discern these 'hidden' parts, and to do that usually requires a fairly high volume level.
Now, most of you probably think my eardrums are shot from a lifetime of listening to 'loud' music. In fact, I have recently had a hearing test, and the audiologist was completely shocked that I was still hearing frequencies that supposedly cannot be heard by someone over 30 years of age (our ability to hear higher frequencies like the sizzle of a cymbal naturally declines over our lifetime). My hearing was excellent, even after 45 years of playing in Rock Bands and a lifetime of mixing music at the higher volume levels that I just described. Here is the reason for this:
1). When I played in Rock Bands, I always kept myself positioned at an angle to the speakers - if I felt pain in my ears from the volume, I would position myself or the speakers until the sound level was 'comfortably loud'.
2). Mixing music at a volume high enough to hear the 'subconscious' components of the arrangements DOES NOT mean listening with the volume 'Flat Out'. Again, it is possible to set the volume loud enough to get all the nuances from the music without being 'uncomfortably' loud.
3). Using the right equipment (headphones that can help discern these musical nuances through quality rather than 'brute force' volume).
Determining a decibel level that is damaging vs safe depends on so many unquantifiable factors for each specific case as to make it laughable. The responsibility of determining what is 'too loud' and what is NOT clearly lies with the individual listening to the music. If the music is at a level that actually 'hurts' or is uncomfortable to listen to, then you should be smart enough to back it down a notch. Even if you are intent on listening to the maximum volume possible, that is YOUR prerogative. Each individuals lifestyle is their responsibility. Even though government has gotten as far as dictating that we wear seat belts, motorcycle helmets and bicycle helmets, there are no laws to stop people from pigging out on obviously ridiculous portions of unhealthy foods (resulting in a huge increase of obesity and Type 2 diabetes), smoking cigarettes (no need to detail the negative effects here), excessive drinking, and abuse of prescription drugs.
Unless an individual's irresponsible behavior puts others at risk (such as with second hand smoke, driving under the influence, etc.), then the government has no right to put laws into effect governing that behavior.