Apple's iPod Accused of Causing Hearing Loss
Wed, 08 Feb 2006 11:34:35
Apple's iPod has quickly become a must-have item for music lovers -- with over 42 million units being sold since the introduction of the line in 2001 -- but a new lawsuit claims that Apple has been avoiding the dark cloud behind the success story: potential hearing loss.
In his lawsuit against the computer giant, John Kiel Patterson seeks both an unspecified amount of damages and a requirement for Apple to modify the design of their product. Although the device is currently accompanied by a warning that "permanent hearing loss may occur if earphones or headphones are used at high volume," Patterson claims that it is not clear to consumers what qualifies as "high volume."
Patterson may be helped by a precedent in France, where Apple was forced to yank the iPod from shelves and modify the software to limit sound output to 100 decibels. If they took steps to improve the safety of their device in France, Patterson asks, how could they leave the product unchanged for the rest of the world? The headphones that accompany the iPod, known as "ear buds," are also claimed to be harder on hearing than many other sound sources, due to the close proximity of the ear bud to the hearing canal.
The charges have also captured the attention of Congress, where Rep. Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts) has asked the National Institutes of Health to review research linking the iPod -- and other portable music players -- to premature hearing loss.
-- The ARTISTdirect Staff