The regulation

Amplified music (disco, concert hall, etc.)

When music is amplified, regulations shall apply: concert halls, bars, discotheques as well as MP3 players must meet certain limits.

Regulations in music event venues

The regulation imposes a limit on concert halls and private discos, but it is quite common for an outdoor concert to generate sound levels from 120 to 140dB near the speakers.

Graph showing the limits not to be exceeded in concert halls and discos (in decibels)

Regulations with regard to digital and MP3 players

With regard to music players, the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR), estimated that between 50 and 100 million citizens of 27 countries of the European Union listen to music everyday on music players, and identified between 2 and 10 million people among them as being at risk.

"People who use music players are at risk of permanent hearing loss if they set the volume too loud and use the device for more than an hour a day every week for at least 5 years", warns SCENIHR.

In 2011, in Europe, digital music players are limited to 100dB in theory, but it is not difficult to find an MP3 player whose sound level meets 120dB. The United States has no imposed limit. Internet forums are full of advice to "go beyond" the limits of the iPhone, for example.

Knowing that exposure to a sound level of 100 dB (A) for longer than five minutes is harmful to hearing, one can easily imagine the consequences of being exposed to 120dB for several hours a day with an MP3 player.