Apple Planning To Protect Your Hearing

By Rafe Telsch 2007-12-27 21:35:17
Portable sound devices being bad for your hearing is nothing new. Darn kids trying to listen to music too loudly goes back to portable 8-Track players and cassettes. Digital devices like iPods just make it more convenient to carry the device around, but the concern for hearing is still there. It appears Apple may be more concerned about your hearing than your kids most likely are, however, and may be taking steps to help protect you from your iPod and yourself.

According to DVICE, Apple is looking at implementing some new software in their iPods that monitors how long and how loud you listen to your iPod. If your volume and/or length exceeds recommended guidelines, the iPod will automatically lower the volume to try and help protect your hearing. It even will keep listeners from being able to raise the volume back up to a louder volume (thatís the protecting you from yourself part).

I find this a little bothersome. I mean, really Ė if kids wonít listen to their parents about listening to their iPods at a reasonable level, what gives the iPod itself the right to dictate what level they listen to it at? I think itís good in principle; after all, people have been doing damage to their hearing for years, so protecting them from that is a good idea, but should your music device get to determine when itís time to lower the volume?

And what about people who connect their iPods to a stereo or iHome type device. In that case, suddenly lowering the volume becomes incredibly inconvenient. Last time I checked, my iPod didnít know if it was plugged into headphones or my iTrip. Again, the last thing I want when Iím driving is for the iPod to suddenly determine its time to lower the volume.

Itís a good idea in principle, but this would be crossing a line. Should Apple wind up implementing it, I hope they give users the option to disable it. Of course, that kind of defeats the purpose of saving you from your own listening habits, but, as always, some people donít want to be saved.
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