Apple sued over iPod hearing loss claims02/02/2006 - 16:19:22
Computer giant Apple is being sued by an American man who claims iPods can cause hearing loss.
John Kiel Patterson is alleging that the hugely popular music players are “inherently defective in design and are not sufficiently adorned with adequate warnings regarding the likelihood of hearing loss“.
They can produce sounds of more than 115 decibels, a volume that can damage the hearing of a person exposed to the sound for more than 28 seconds per day, according to the complaint filed at the District Court in San Jose, California.
Mr Patterson, from Louisiana, who wants his lawsuit certified as a class action, is seeking unspecified damages and upgrades he says would make iPods safer.
But although he bought an iPod last year, his lawyer Steve Berman, said Mr Paterson does not know if his hearing has been damaged by it.
The point of the claim is to take issue with the alleged potential of the player to cause irreparable hearing loss, he explained.
“He’s bought a product which is not safe to use as currently sold on the market,” Mr Berman said.
“He’s paying for a product that’s defective, and the law is pretty clear that if someone sold you a defective product they have a duty to repair it.”
Apple, which declined to comment, has sold more than 42 million iPods since they went on sale in 2001.
The company includes a warning with each iPod that says “permanent hearing loss may occur if earphones or headphones are used at high volume“.
Mr Paterson’s suit says the special headphones that come with the player - known as ear buds – contribute to noise-induced hearing loss because they do not dilute the sound entering the ear and are closer to the ear canal than other sound sources.
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