Yes, compression is necessary to 'contain' for lack of a better word the highs and lows within a listenable range. But that is compression that is used both out of necessity and, when done well, artistically.
I'm still not sure I'm buying into the volume or low power devices theories. As far as volume, as I mentioned, most players and streaming services are normalized. As is radio. So , 'loud enough' to be noticed/heard really isn't the point any more. It can't be. Every device and service has a volume 'knob'. As far as low power devices, every iPhone I've ever had will play ear buds and even typical headphones loud enough to damage your hearing. So, to me anyway, that does not serve as an adequate explanation as to why this problem _persists_.