The European Union is poised to introduce volume limits for MP3 players, following concerns that listening to loud music through headphones could cause hearing damage.
According to the Press Association, the EU plans to launch a consultation in the new year, with a final decision due in spring.
Stephen Russell of the European consumer lobby ANEC told the BBC’s Politics Show: "There are up to 10 million Europeans, mainly young people, who are at risk of losing their hearing permanently in the next five years due to their personal listening habits.
"The units on the market at the moment, some of them are capable of generating a volume of beyond 115 decibels. Now, if we compare that with health and safety legislation, workers are not allowed to be exposed to that levels of volume for more than 30 seconds."
EU experts want MP3 players to have a default maximum setting of 85 decibels, which users could reset to a top limit of 100 decibels. Some devices tested reportedly reached volumes of 120 decibels, the equivalent of a jet taking off.