Next Generation iPod to prevent premature hearing damage!

Amid growing fears that listeners could cause irreversible damage to their hearing – the highest setting is as loud as a chainsaw – Apple is developing an automatic volume control. The future versions of Apple’s MP3 player are to be adapted to prevent users from playing tracks at full blast through their earphones for too long. A new patent reveals that the next iPods and iPhones could automatically calculate how long a person has been listening and at what volume, before gradually reducing the sound level. The device will also calculate the amount of “quiet time” between when the iPod is turned off and when it is restarted, allowing the volume to be increased again to a safe level.

Listening to volumes below 70 decibels is considered safe. But iPods can currently reach volumes of over 100 decibels – the equivalent to standing 10ft from a pneumatic drill – and enough to cause permanent damage after just 15 minutes. It is unclear whether owners of the next-generation iPod will be able to switch off the automatic volume control. Some MP3 players can even exceed 120 decibels.