Have you ever noticed that when a TV show goes into a commercial the volume on your set goes up?

It's no big mystery why this happens. Advertisers have figured out that the best way to sell soap or whatever is to make their message stand out by being louder than what you were hearing before. (This is also the general philosophy behind loudmouth infomercial pitchmen like Vince Offer and the late Billy Mays.)

On behalf of your eardrums, the government has stepped in and ended this sales technique. Starting today it is illegal for TV commercials to play at a greater volume than the program content they accompany.

The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (or CALM, clever right?) Act covers broadcast, cable and satellite TV. It was actually ratified a year ago, but broadcasters had been given 365 days to comply.

What the CALM Act doesn't cover, however, are radio ads, which are traditionally among the worst volume offenders. So if you are listening to your favorite radio station on headphones you should continue to be mindful of the earsplitting effects of a commercial break.

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