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Apple wins appeal in iPod hearing loss suit

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Wednesday, December 30, 2009
News Categories: iPod

Apple recently won an appeal in a class-action lawsuit that sought to hold the company responsible for hearing loss caused by iPods. Reuters reports that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld a prior district court’s rejection of the suit, ruling that the plaintiffs in the case failed to show that use of the iPod poses an unreasonable risk of noise-induced hearing loss. “The plaintiffs do not allege the iPods failed to do anything they were designed to do nor do they allege that they, or any others, have suffered or are substantially certain to suffer inevitable hearing loss or other injury from iPod use,” Senior Judge David Thompson wrote. “At most, the plaintiffs plead a potential risk of hearing loss not to themselves, but to other unidentified iPod users.” The plaintiffs were seeking monetary damages and a court order requiring Apple to improve safety disclosures and provide better headphones.

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Comments

1

What?

Posted by ort on December 30, 2009 at 2:32 PM (PDT)

2

Typical idiot, baseless lawsuit. Apple will now have to pass the lawyer cost off to the consumer. Quick hint kiddies, don’t listen to music so loud your ears ring afterwords. And if you do, don’t sue Apple; it is your own fault.

Better headphones would be nice, but I wouldn’t sue them for it   wink

Posted by beedlejuice on December 30, 2009 at 2:41 PM (PDT)

3

Are you freaking kidding me? Retarded people don’t realize that the costs are coming back to the consumer. These morons should be forced to pay all legal fees for trying to cash in by suing a multibillion dollar corporation.

Posted by tK on December 30, 2009 at 6:26 PM (PDT)

4

This summary is incorrect.  Apple won an appeal, not “a judgment.”  The “judgment” was handed down previously by the district court.  A federal appeals court *never* issues a “judgment.”  Also, Senior Judge Thompson didn’t single-handedly “reject[]” the suit, as this article strongly implies.  Rather, the appeal was rejected by a panel of federal appellate judges.  Judge Thompson authored the opinion on behalf of the panel.

All too often, the media presents the legal system as acting haphazardly, following the whim of individual, all-powerful judges.  That’s rarely the case and certainly wasn’t here.

Posted by Ellen on December 30, 2009 at 10:51 PM (PDT)

5

My eldest child lost the “middle range” of his hearing in both ears due to playing music through his earbuds too loud. 

As a parent, he was told on countless number of occasions to turn down the music as well as losing the privilege of having his iPod for periods of time long before the doctor diagnosed his hearing malady. 

At the end of the day it is a bad outcome for him, but it isn’t Apple’s fault whatsoever.  Loud is loud.

Posted by Charles Farley on December 31, 2009 at 7:03 AM (PDT)

6

the ultimate protection still up to an individual ,or the parent if minor involved.I would not allow my small kids to own an Ipod knowing they do not understand the consequenses of loud sounds.I would not buy an Ipod if Apple decides to put A sound limiter build in,would you?

Posted by truc on December 31, 2009 at 7:20 AM (PDT)

7

@truc

All models of the iPod Touch and the iPhone have a Volume Limit option. It has been there since the original models were released in 2007. I also believe that some of the older iPod models also have this feature, but I honestly can’t remember.

Posted by Joel on January 3, 2010 at 12:24 PM (PDT)

8

Aside from the obvious temptation of money, what exactly do the people behind lawsuits like this want? Are they looking for companies that go out of their way to outsmart the consumer, predicting each and every way people could possibly hurt themselves and preventing it? I understand and appreciate working to to make things safe, but it’s not their job to protect people from themselves.

Or in other words, you can try to make something idiot-proof, but they’ll usually just come out with a better idiot.

Posted by Jerome on January 4, 2010 at 8:01 AM (PDT)

9

I don’t believe a volume limiter is the issue as much as that everyone know to use the sleep timer to shut it off after 30 or 60 minutes to give their ears a break, especially in situations where they might fall asleep. And avoiding the in your ear headphones.

Posted by mr x on January 4, 2010 at 8:29 PM (PDT)

10

Much too often I come across kids that you can hear the music before you even walk up to them. Expect a LOT more of this to come.

Trying to drown out everyone & every noise around them. Soon it will be permanant for ‘em.

Posted by Larry on April 16, 2010 at 10:59 AM (PDT)

11

Apple did not create a defective device. These people would have suffered hearing loss from any device requiring headphones or earbuds. After all this is not rocket science. Have individuals now reached a new low in stupidity? Tom Hanks as Forest Gump said best when he made famous “Stupid is as stupid does”.  Have to wonder about the great unwashed mass!

Posted by Fred on April 17, 2010 at 9:23 AM (PDT)

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