Investigation and pending class action lawsuits against Motorola, Inc, Jabra and Plantronics claiming that the Bluetooth Headset makers has misrepresented its product, failed to inform consumers of the hearing loss which can be caused by the product, and to take adequate steps to prevent hearing loss among Bluetooth users.
The class action lawsuits charge that Bluetooth Headsets, including those manufactured by Motorola, Jabra and Plantronics, are sold with representations that they can be used for extensive time periods and that nowhere on the packaging materials or in the sales literature are warnings included regarding noise induced hearing loss (NIHL), a condition with no cure or treatment, that the headsets are likely to cause if used for extended time periods. Sound pressure is measured in decibels (dB). The average person can hear sounds at about 0 dB, the level of rustling leaves. A conversation between two people is typically 60 dB. According to Dangerous Decibels, a nonprofit public health partnership for the prevention of NIHL, a dangerous sound is 85 dB and above. The American Speech-Hearing-Language Association recently included the Motorola's H700 Bluetooth in a safety test, comparing it to federal standards for controlling occupational noise exposure,' says Harnett. 'At full volume the headset tested from 82 - 106 dB. Can you imagine what that can do to the hearing of the average Bluetooth user who is using his headset for an extended period of time every day and has no clue that he is 'poisoning' his hearing with lethal doses of sound?' The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), says that exposure to sound averaging 85 dB for more than eight hours a day by itself presents a risk of hearing loss.
According to NIOSH, each three decibel volume increase reduces the safety exposure time by half, which reflects the logarithmic nature of the decibel scale. For example, if a headset is set to provide a sound of 91 dB, noise induced hearing loss statistically develops if the headset is used for more than two hours a day. At 94 dB, NIHL statistically develops if the headset is used for more than one hour a day. At 102 dB, irreversible damage statistically develops if the headset is used for more than seven-and-a-half MINUTES per day. Of the roughly 40 million Americans who suffer from hearing loss, it is estimated that the hearing loss of 10 million of them can be attributed to NIHL. NIHL can be caused by a one-time exposure to a loud sound or by repeated exposure to sounds at various loudness levels over an extended period of time, which damage the microscopic hair cells found inside the ear's cochlea. If enough of the hair cell's hair-like stereocilia are damaged or broken, hearing loss results. There is no treatment, no medicine, no surgery, and no device that can correct hearing that has been damaged by noise.
Name (Stock Symbol)
Motorola, Inc. (MOT)
Motorola, Inc. makes cell phones and other products for the mobile communications industry.
Plantronics Inc. (PLT)
Plantronics, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the design, manufacture, and marketing of communications headsets, telephone headset systems, and accessories.
Jabra is a wholly owned subsidiary of GN Store Nord A/S, sells hands free head sets for telephones.
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