According to the Associated Press, a Louisiana man has filed a Products Liability suit against Apple, seeking Class Certification for all iPod users who may have suffered noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) from the device. The complaint alleges that iPod’s are “inherently defective in design and are not sufficiently adorned with adequate warnings regarding the likelihood of hearing loss”. The suit claims that the ear bud style headphones, which are supplied with the product, sit closer to the ear canal than other types of headphones, and contribute to the users proclivity to turn up the volume, since they fail to dilute ambient noise surrounding the user.
Interestingly, hearing loss risks caused Apple to iPods from store shelves in France and modified the software to limit the volume to 100 dB, but has not done so in the USA. I’ve seen several recent newpaper articles on the subject of the increasing number of Baby Boomers who are suffering NIHL from their earlier use of Walkman’s and, now, frequent exposure to noise from iPods. In my opinion, since noise governers have been around for decades, they should be designed into all music devices.