February 2, 2006 11:10 AM PST

Apple faces suit over iPod-related hearing loss

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A Louisiana man has filed a class action suit against Apple Computer, saying the computer maker has failed to take adequate steps to prevent hearing loss among iPod users.

The suit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif., charges that the iPod music player can produce sounds of up to 115 decibels even though some studies suggest that listening to music at that level for 28 seconds a day can cause damage over time. The suit, filed on behalf of John Kiel Patterson and all other iPod buyers, seeks monetary damages to compensate for the hearing loss suffered by iPod users, as well as a share of Apple's iPod profits.

The suit also seeks to force Apple to offer a software upgrade to limit the iPod's output to 100 decibels as well as provide headphones designed to block out external noise.

"Millions of consumers have had their hearing put at risk by Apple's conduct," the suit states.

An Apple representative declined to comment. The company has faced other suits over the iPod, including one over complaints that the devices scratch too easily. Apple reached a settlement in another case, related to the battery life of early iPods.

The latest court action follows several news articles quoting hearing experts who warn that prolonged digital music player use at high volumes may put people at risk of hearing loss.

Apple does caution customers in its iPod user manual, with a section labeled "Avoid Hearing Damage."

"Warning: Permanent hearing loss may occur if earphones or headphones are used at high volume," Apple states in the manual. "You can adapt over time to a higher volume of sound, which may sound normal but can be damaging to your hearing. Set your iPod's volume to a safe level before that happens."

The suit charges that the warning from Apple is inadequate because it fails to advise people what constitutes a "high volume" or a "safe level."

Apple was forced to limit the output of iPods to 100 decibels in France, although the suit claims that Apple has not done so in the U.S. and that even that level is "still not safe."

Patterson's suit cites National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health data that sets a safe exposure limit for noise of 85 decibels for eight hours a day. For each 5-decibel increase, the safe exposure time drops by half, the suit says.

The suit was brought by lawyers at Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, one of two firms that filed the iPod scratching suit.

85 comments

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Frivolous law suits
Hey I'm going deaf because I listen to music to loud on my iPod.....Hey lets sue Apple....Then if we win, lets sue the music companies for distributing the music....If we win, lets sue the artists that created the music.

Only in America
Posted by itworker--2008 (130 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Unbelievable!
Haven't we been able to damage our hearing since the dawn of
headphones? Why not sue Sony for the Walkman? Or just about any
rock concert hall. How 'bout any computer maker that outputs too
much volume when headphones are plugged in (I listen all day
through my computer).

I cannot believe people sometimes.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Sony Walkmans
Actually, I remember when this same thing happened in the early 80's with Sony Walkmans. It's history repeating itself.

One of my favourite quotes:

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. (George Santayana)
Posted by herkamur (115 comments )
Link Flag
Ahhh Yes...
Only in America where you can sue someone else or company for something that you should know anyways. It took an iPod to get this lawsuit out. How long have headphones been around. Hey buddy turn the music down. AND WAKE UP AMERICA!!!!
Posted by ZP (19 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not about the people
The lawyers aren't suing Apple because they feel sorry for the stupid people who listen to their music too loud. No, they are suing Apple because the iPOD is wildly successful and because they think Apple has 'deep pockets.'

Class Action lawsuits are a fraud. The people affected will only see pennies compared to the millions the lawyers get.

These frivilous lawsuits should be thrown-out. It's a total waste of taxpayer money!

We should file a lawsuit against the law firm!
Posted by jollyruss (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Idiot
We all pay the price for moronic lawsuits like this through
increased prices since companies have to pass legal costs for
defending themselves onto us. Does this guy think that no other
audio device around can cause hearing damage if you play it too
loud?
Posted by mofo111 (107 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yeah
Think Microsoft.
Posted by SystemsJunky (409 comments )
Link Flag
Money hungry lawyers behind this one...
The worst thing is that these sheisters may end up making
money under the shadow of doing "good" for people. So, an
ignorant plaintiff who can't take responsibility for his own health
and actions is going to cost the rest of us the ability to crank our
ipods through our car stereos. Take responsibility for yourself
and don't expect the world to cradle your non-forking family
tree.

I hope these guys lose to Apple, and then have to pay court fees
for their ignorance.

On top of it all, they'll force the passing of laws against
"frivolous lawsuits" which will dragnet legitimate lawsuits. All
these people are doing is making the rest of us pay for their
sheister vacations.
Posted by kylegas (81 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I love it!
"Take responsibility for yourself
and don't expect the world to cradle your non-forking family
tree." ---- You hit it right on the head. How true! People just want th government or soemone else to help them along in life. Just like parents want the gov't to regulate this and regulate that. You know the gov't has enough to do why don't you watch your OWN kids.
Posted by ZP (19 comments )
Link Flag
Lawyers aren't...
...about "doing good for people". They couldn't care less about anyone or anything except their bank accounts. They are filthy lowlife scumsucking leaches who seek to line their pockets through the misery they inflict on others and who thrive on pitting people against each other.
Posted by J_Satch (571 comments )
Link Flag
Can't believe
In most places such suits are considered "way too american". Legal ways of trying to get money... trying to say that common sense doesn't need to by considered by users. (are our lifes to be managed by others? crazy) Just look at what happens to the healthcare system. Costs exploding and people getting less... makes no sense at all.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
OMG BAN ALL SPEAKERS AND HEADSETS!!!!!
nt
Posted by capfan12 (101 comments )
Link Flag
Frivulous Lawsuits
I tend to lean towards the Creative side in the iPod vs. everything else wars, but I think this lawsuit is stupid (and could spring other lawsuits against other device makers and headphone manufacturers).

It is the responsibility of the user of any product to make sure that a produce in use is used safetly.
Posted by darrius3365 (98 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I'm Going Blind. I'm Suing...
The type on my LCD computer screen is too small and blurry, leading to my failing eyesight. I've filed a class action suit against all LCD panel makers and all computer mfgs. for failing to put a warning label on all computers. This lawsuit will be followed by one citing these same companies for then failing to display the attached warning in 100 other languages besides English, including ancient Greek. I'm simultaneously filing suit with the DOJ for violation of my civil rights because said warning label was not provided in ancient Greek. Clearly the computer mfgs. are racist and blatantly discriminate against ancient Greeks. I also demand that computer mfgs. be required to have a proportionate number of ancient Greeks on their board of directors, and immediately begin an affirmative action program to hire and promote ancient Greeks to high level managerial positions within their companies.
Posted by Stating (869 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Personal Responsibility
What ever happened to personal responsibility. It seems no one
wants to take responsibility for their own actions. McDonalds made
me fat, videogames made me violent, and now iPods make me
deaf. This is not new technology. Walkman, portable CD players
and the like have been around for decades. If you haven't figured it
out by now, why should Apple be held responsible?
Posted by TeoNYC (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I'm going to file suit against God...
...because I stared into the sun and went blind. The Bible should have warned me against that.
Posted by J_Satch (571 comments )
Link Flag
Idiots! The world is full of it.
"The suit, filed on behalf of John Kiel Patterson and all other iPod buyers, seeks monetary damages to compensate for the hearing loss suffered by iPod users, as well as a share of Apple's iPod profits."

How many iPods have been sold so far?? I have one and I'm definitely not blaming Apple if I go deaf. This John Kiel Patterson is a first class idiot! Period! He wants a "share of Apple's iPod profits". What did he do to contribute to the success of the iPod? He bought an iPod no doubt, and now he's suing Apple for his lack of common sense and <cough> laziness-to-earn-money-the-honest-way </cough>. You're wasting your money John!
Posted by (56 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hopefully...
...he will die by getting creamed by a bus while gathering facts for an upcoming case against auto makers for using dangerous steel in their auto bodies.
Posted by J_Satch (571 comments )
Link Flag
Oh come on people
How stupid is it to sue over something as this. People know the risk of hearing lose, If I was Apple I would not pay a dime to anyone that sues for such a ******* reason as this. Well if thats the case oh dr pepper made me fat... I think i will sue them... we all know pop is bad for just like listening to your ipod at loud volumes....
Posted by damon6147 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
easy money?
It's incredible how people is so lazy that they can get money sue a
company for this... it's like say... hey! everybody let's sue all the
computers companies because they make us a little bit blind
everyday..
Posted by Helmut Reiterer (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Apple faces suit over iPod-related hearing loss
Where's my Mommy, Sounds like the persons mommy should have been there to tell him to turn it down. Sounds more like a case of "Child Neglect" to me
Posted by stgoehn (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I lost 70% Hearing in one weekend w/ipod
I used my iPod traveling from Sacramento,Ca to Santa Rosa,Ca. one weekend. From that day on my hearing wasn't the same. To me what i hear now constantly is like i still have on the iPod headphones.

I went to ucDavis and they were surprised how much hearing was lost and how fast it took place.

At first I thought I had wax in my ear after the trip. But after 2 weeks with no change I purchase an ear cleaning kit from the drugs store and after using it NO wax came out. So a few weeks later I contacted ucDaves.

I NOW NEED A HEARING AD FOR BOTH EARSSSSSSSSS!
Posted by pedouet (3 comments )
Link Flag
Apple faces suit over iPod-related hearing loss
Maybe this one will make the top ten annual "Stella" awards.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Do not use hair dryer in shower either!
It hurts.
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Do Not Use A Heatgun As A Hairdryer
It can burn your scalp.
Posted by Stating (869 comments )
Link Flag
Good or bad...the iPod is bad for hearing
I like iPods but good or bad...the iPod is bad for hearing. This is a fact.
Posted by Stan Johnson (322 comments )
Reply Link Flag
>-{
Breathing air in LA is bad for lungs.

Breathing air on a new spring day in an open field can be bad for lungs to.

ITS A FACT

BOVINE FECAL MATTER
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Link Flag
So who the hell is forcing you to use it?
Does it have a volume control? USE IT.
Posted by J_Satch (571 comments )
Link Flag
True but.....
so are portable CD players (e.g. The Sony CD
Walkman) and portable cassette players (e.g. the
Sony [Cassette] Walkman) before that.

And if often you sit in your living room, 10
feet from your stereo with the volume cranked
loud, you'll suffer hearing loss as well.

There's nothing unique about the iPod and
hearing loss.

This lawsuit is absurd.
Posted by angrykeyboarder (136 comments )
Link Flag
Lets sue!
Let sue every company that builds, distributes, installs or sells, any
speaker or electronic component capable of outputting, "high
volume"

Jesus, wake the F*** up people.
Posted by corelogik (680 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Safety Mesaures?
I don't know that it's fair for Apple to be bearing the brunt here, but in general does it seem entirely unreasonable to require safety standards for audio devices. There are plenty of products that must feature safety protocols. Is it entirely unreasonable that audio devices should be manufactured so that they are not capable of playing back sound at levels dangerous to hearing?

It's easy enough to say that it should be up to the user to listen responsibly, but it's not always so easy to tell when music is too loud. To many of us, levels of sound that are damaging to hearing don't sound all that loud.

I'm not necessarily claiming this is reasonable, just noticing that the discussion here is more than a little one-sided in favor of the "people who go deaf deserve it because they're stupid" camp.
Posted by someguy389 (102 comments )
Reply Link Flag
No ...
no spine, no self discipline, no self control, no common sense, ... omg ...

If a person is too stupid to think, and walks in front of a moving truck at 80 mph. Then LET EM. Trust me, we are better off without you.
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Link Flag
Maybe because.....
.... you can't protect stupid people from doing stupid things,
without keeping normal people from doing anything. Maybe there
should be a law that stupid people can't do anything without
getting some sort of government approval, and in the meantime,
maybe stupid people should also be bubble wrapped for their own
safety.

Or we could just throw out stupid law suits and penalize the people
and the lawyers who file them.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
One-sided???
Actually, it's refreshing to hear someone say these comments sound a bit 'one-sided.' Could it be that the majority of folks thinks soundly, and take responsibility for their actions? Well not if you want to at least attempt to sponge off of this big company. I believe the word is GREED. Altogether now, GREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED. Thank you.
Posted by lggirl (9 comments )
Link Flag
just out for a quick buck
I cannot believe some people. I'm sure the attorney that got this case is about to explode with happiness thinking he/she will get loaded with a positive outcome. This is such a waste of money and a poor use of time in our court system.
Posted by p0rtmonkey (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Incredible!
One of the most ridiculous things i have ever heard. This guy really
takes the cake! I guess we arent responsible for our own actions
anymore huh? I probably should sue the major television networks
for turning me into a couch potato. Someone should counter sue
him for being an idiot!
Posted by (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Cup of HOT coffee anyone?
Better put ice in it first and make sure the printing on the cup
explains what is inside. The sad truth is that this type of case
could actually make it to court. In the meantime, cases with real
merit wait and wait.
Posted by ps1999 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
The coffee cup case
Wasn't about hott coffee, everyone knows coffee is hot. It was about that fact that they kept the coffee at near boiling temps, which is unsafe. The woman wasn't just burnt -she basicly had her genitals melted off. What price would you put on yours?
Posted by Bob Brinkman (556 comments )
Link Flag
Price of Success
You cannot claim to be successful until someone sues you for it! I hope he is laughed out of court.
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I don't...
...I hope he is run out of court on a rail and hanged, right next to his lawyer.
Posted by J_Satch (571 comments )
Link Flag
Can I sue you?
Can I sue the freakin' human race for being so stupid?
People really confuse their own stupidity with winning
the lottery. I wish I was a lawyer so I could cash in on these IDIOTS!
Posted by titanium667 (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Disbar the Lawyers, Jail the Plaintiff
Stupid stupid stupid

If a judge does not throw this out, with the threat of contempt, and disbarring the lawyers, then we may have passed into the age of complete, and total STUPIDITY!
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Reply Link Flag
iPod Hearing Loss?
Lets see, I have decided to sue all the lawnmower manufactures
for my hearing loss, and while I am at it I will sue the neighbors
barking dog, and the noisy airplanes that soar above my house,
and the makers of ear plugs because they don't work, and my
wife for screaming at me, and the playground noises from the
nearby school, and of course rock concerts, boom bass radios,
thunderstorms, and blarinng TV's. I will ban all of these sound
sources so I can save my hearing. I will move to a vacant island.
Posted by rmarontar (2 comments )
Link Flag
 

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