Dave, my son listens to music at a really high volume and I’m afraid it is going to affect his hearing. Is there a way in iOS that I can set a max volume limit to prevent any hearing loss? He’s got an iPhone SE.
It’s alarmingly common for children – and adults – to listen to music from their personal devices at what can best be described as ear-splitting volume. With headphones and earbuds, it’s so easy to crank up the tunes without anyone else really knowing just how loud it is. The problem is that this can also cause both short-term and long-term hearing loss, which is a matter of great concern if you’re a parent.
Previous generations of audio gear simply didn’t have the ability to get that crazy loud, including your parent’s hi-fidelity system. Crank it up all the way, it probably wasn’t very loud, particularly when compared to the latest personal audio gear. There are some headphones, like those from Puro Sound Labs, that have built-in volume limiting, but odds are your son already has his favorite ‘buds or ‘phones, which mitigates that as a good solution.
Shortcuts: Apple Watch Monitor | iPhone Audio Level Limits | Reduce Loud Sounds
Fortunately, it turns out that iOS does have a volume limiting feature, though it’s not something you can lock so he could ostensibly disable it when he wants to listen to his music maximally loud. Then again, a combination of a discussion about hearing loss and setting it pretty high (rather than at the lowest possible point) might work fine. Then he can still boast to his friends that he’s got it “at max” even though it’s not actually at the level of causing potential hearing damage.
COOL APPLE WATCH TRICKS
Before I show you the iPhone settings, I do want to point out that if he wears an Apple Watch, there are some settings that can have it monitor sound levels too, so he’ll know if he’s in a dangerously loud environment at a concert or similar:
Interestingly, I got this warning at a movie theater! Yes, the volume was turned up pretty loud. Want to learn how to set this up? Check out my Let Your Apple Watch Monitor Sound Levels tutorial for all the details.
IPHONE AUDIO LEVEL MONITORING
Turns out that the iPhone is actually constantly analyzing the audio it’s playing, whether it’s through a plug or a Bluetooth connection. It can actually indicate how often dangerous audio levels have been played in the previous six months. First, though, you have to get to that spot. Start by opening up “Settings” on the iPhone.
There are a couple of ways to get to the settings, but I prefer going through “Sound & Haptics” in the second section of Settings. Find it and tap on it…
This is the central spot to change ringtones, voicemail beeps, etc, but for our task it’s the “Headphone Safety” entry that’s of interest. Tap on it.
Notice that in the last six months I have had zero notifications about overly loud playback; I try not to listen to my audio too loud because I don’t want any hearing loss. If your son also has none, then the music he’s listening too might not be as loud as you fear.
IPHONE: REDUCE LOUD SOUNDS
While you’re in this area, however, why not enable “Reduce Loud Sounds” anyway? Simply tap to enable the feature and it will show a slider that offers a decibel level and equivalent sound:
If you are curious, tap on “Learn more” and you’ll find this reference table from Apple:
For the loudest sounds, it also recommends a max exposure per seven days: A Thunder Clap can be so loud that the recommendation is more more than one minute per week! Not always easy to implement, but it’s good to know just how dangerous really, really loud sounds can be.
Set this up, talk with your son about what you’ve done, and good luck to you!
Note: If you set up Screen Time for family members, you can prevent children from changing the Reduce Loud Sounds level. Go to Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions > Reduce Loud Sounds, then select Don’t Allow.
Pro Tip: I’ve written quite a bit about the Apple iPhone and iOS both. Please check out my extensive iPhone & iOS Help Library for lots of additional details.