WASHINGTON – Legislation to turn down the volume on those loud TV commercials that send viewers diving for their remote controls looks like it will soon become law.

The Senate unanimously passed a bill late Wednesday to require television stations and cable companies to keep commercials at the same volume as the programs they interrupt.

The House has passed similar legislation. Before it can become law, minor differences between the bills have to be worked out when Congress returns to Washington after the Nov. 2 election.

Ever since television caught on in the 1950s, the Federal Communications Commission has been getting complaints about blaring commercials. But the FCC concluded in 1984 there was no fair way to write regulations controlling the “apparent loudness” of commercials, so it hasn’t been regulating them.

Managing the transition between programs and ads without spoiling the artistic intent of the producers poses technical challenges and may require TV broadcasters to purchase new equipment. To address the issue, an industry organization recently produced guidelines on how to process, measure and transmit audio in a uniform way.