Apple's already given self-controlling individuals the option to limit their iPod's maximum volume level, but if a newly surfaced patent application is any indication of the future, your next PMP from the Cupertino powerhouse could actually tone things down for you. Reportedly, the app explains that software could eventually keep track of how long -- and at what volume level -- you've been listening, and if it determines that you could be damaging your ears, the volume could be automatically adjusted down for your own safety. Granted, there's no way to definitively tell whether Apple will or won't implement such a change, nor if owners will be allowed to disable the feature, but really, who could argue with software retarding the rate at which you go deaf?

[Image courtesy of Apple]

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Apple patent app details automatic iPod volume lowering