Apple wins appeal over iPod “hearing loss”

A US federal appeals court has rejected a class-action lawsuit seeking to hold Apple responsible for possible hearing loss caused by iPods.

Apple wins appeal over iPod

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco affirmed a 2008 district court ruling that the plaintiffs failed to show that use of the iPod poses an unreasonable risk of noise-induced hearing loss.

Apple has sold more than 220 million iPods since their 2001 launch. It provides a warning with each iPod that urges users to avoid hearing damage by setting the volume at safe levels.

The plaintiffs, Joseph Birdsong and Bruce Waggoner, had argued that the iPod ear buds are designed to be placed deep in the ear canal, which increases the danger of hearing damage.

At most, the plaintiffs plead a potential risk of hearing loss not to themselves, but to other unidentified iPod users

They also said that iPods pose a danger because of their lack of volume meters or noise-isolating properties, despite being capable of producing sound as loud as 115 decibels.

The appeals court said the plaintiffs showed ways they believe iPods could be made safer, not that they were dangerous. “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 had sought financial damages, and to require Apple to improve safety and disclosures, provide better headphones, and test iPod users for hearing loss.

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