Apple Sued Over iPod Hearing Loss

An iPod owner who says he suffered hearing loss as a result of the device filed a lawsuit against Apple in federal court earlier this week, and is seeking class action status. However, experts say the effort has little chance of success.

According to the suit, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in San Jose, iPods are "inherently defective in design and are not sufficiently adorned with adequate warnings regarding the likelihood of hearing loss." It asks the court to order Apple to pay compensation and make upgrades to the device to make it safer.

However, experts are skeptical of the claims. While the iPod is popular, it is no more likely to cause hearing loss than any other MP3 player. These experts say the resulting health issues are more of a result of carelessness by the user rather than negligence on the part of Apple or any other manufacturer.

Also, Apple does indeed warn its users within the usage instructions that keeping the earphones at a high volume for an extended period of time could do damage to hearing.

The suit points to the fact that the device was pulled from French shelves and software installed that limited sound to 100 decibels. However, the same was not done within the United States.

The iPod can produce sounds of 115 decibels or more, which when listened to for more than 28 seconds per day can cause a loss of hearing. Also, the earbuds shipped with the device contribute to the problem as sound is not diluted before entering the ear, the complaint alleges.

Furthermore, the suit accuses Apple of carelessness by including phrases like "crank up the tunes" within its user manuals.

Apple has declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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