Hit the mute! Why TV commercials are so loud, and how that may change


Annoyingly loud TV commercials are like the weather. Everyone complains about them, but no one does anything about them. Except that lately, someone is doing something about it. Several someones, in fact. After decades of neglect, the issue is finally getting so much attention that the familiar explosion of noise signaling the start of a commercial pod could soon be a thing of the past.

The fight against excessive commercial volume has two fronts, legislative and technological. The first line of defense on the legal side is the Federal Communications Commission, which mandates that commercials can be no louder than the loudest parts of the programming they accompany.