Canada's telecommunications watchdog is set to announce new rules that will lower the sound of loud commercials on television.
The Huffington Post Canada has learned the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) will announced regulations Tuesday that will require the industry to ensure ads aren't any louder than regular programming. The rules will kick in on September 1, 2012.
The arms-length agency received more than 7,000 comments from Canadians complaining about ads piercing their eardrums when they launched a call for public input last year.
Helen Kirby of Langley, B.C., begged the CRTC to "please" fix the problem.
"I find it extremely frustrating to have to modify the volume between programs and commercials," Surrey, B.C's Rae Alcock wrote to the Commission.
M. Stewart from Burlington said the high volume of commercials is so "offensive" that their family turns the tube off or hits the mute button as soon as they appear.
"It’s disgraceful that we have to be subjected to such insults," Stewart wrote.
The CRTC has received a torrent of complaints over the last couple of years from television viewers annoyed about having to reach for the remote every time commercials interrupt their favourite programs.
Senior citizens with hearing aids have been especially sensitive to the sound difference between shows and ads.
Former CRTC Chairman Konrad von Finckenstein took it upon himself in late 2010 to fix the issue after noticing the U.S.’ Federal Communications Commission was also looking into the the problem.
“Broadcasters have allowed ear-splitting ads to disturb viewers and have left us little choice but to set out clear rules that will put an end to excessively loud ads. The technology exists, let’s use it,” Finckenstein said in announcing the decision last year.
Conservative back-bench MP Nina Grewal had introduced a private member’s bill, C-621, during the last Parliament calling on the CRTC to regulate the loudness of commercials but it went nowhere because the government was defeated the day it was scheduled for debate.
Grewal told HuffPost on Monday that she believes her bill helped spark action from the CRTC and "fix a nuisance that has plagued Canadians."
"These loud commercials they affect everyone's quality of life, especially our seniors with sensitive hearing ... we need to protect those who are vulnerable," she said. "It's a good day, we will be living pollution free and noise free."