Investigation and a pending class-action lawsuit against Apple Inc on behalf of consumers, alleging the company's digital music and video players - known as the iPod series - are defectively designed and do not provide sufficient warning against possible hearing loss.
The class action lawsuit seeks to represent millions who have suffered or may suffer from noise induced hearing loss as a result of Apple's alleged design flaws and failure to adequately warn consumers. According to the class action complaint, iPods can reach 130 decibels (DB) - comparable to an air raid siren - well beyond safe listening levels. Studies indicate that hearing loss may occur after 28 seconds of sound at 115 DB, the complaint claims. In 2002, Apple was forced to pull its iPods from stores in France after the country imposed a limit of 100 DB for personal listening devices. According to the complaint, Apple responded by offering upgraded software in its European iPod models to limit the sound output to 100 DB. After recognition of the problem and a solution was created for European countries, Apple continues to sell its iPods in the United States with its dangerous sound capabilities.
The class action lawsuit alleges that the actual iPod devices do not provide guidelines or warnings about possible hearing loss, the high decibel level they can reach, or safe volume levels for listening. The class action complaint also claims that Apple does not include a warning about the dangers of hearing loss that can occur after prolonged exposure to sound, even at a reasonable volume. The class action lawsuit also alleges that the earbuds sold with the iPods are defective and may add to hearing loss due to the close proximity to the ear canal and its inability to block out background noise, causing the listener to increase the volume.
The suit seeks compensation, and software upgrades for purchasers of the devices.
Name (Stock Symbol)
Apple Inc. (AAPL)
Apple Inc. designs, manufactures and sells consumer electronics including computers, cell phones. It also owns and operates Itunes, the largest website to download and manage music.
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