Why Are Commercials So LOUD?

Now that I’m a full-fledged working lady, I can actually afford cable now. I’ve been watching an hour or two of TV every night after work/gym, but I noticed how much I absolutely HATE how the volume jacks up super loud whenever commercials come on. I have to mute the TV sometimes because of how alarming the noise is. So I had to ask:

Why are commercials so much louder than movies/TV shows being broadcast?

My sister so happened to be visiting and within earshot range of my complaining and actually shared with me a rather shocking answer.

Commercials are in fact not allowed to be louder than TV programs. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 2011 passed regulations stating that commercials must have the same average volume as broadcast programs.

The reason commercials seem to be jarring and so loud is because their sound is held constantly at the maximum decibel limit. TV programs, on the other hand, tend to fluctuate between patterns of high and low noise.

As this article says “High levels of sound for a sustained duration comes across to the ear as louder than for short duration.”


Figure. Sums up the traumatic commercial experience. It happens regardless if you are watching on a TV or on the computer. 

And just in case you are wondering what “CILLIT BANG” is, it’s a commercial for a UK universal cleaner, apparently.





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