Man sues over iPod 'hearing risk'

Thursday, 2 February 2006, 13:12 GMT

Computer giant Apple is being sued in the US by a man who says its iPod music player can cause loss of hearing.

The lawsuit, filed in California, claims iPods are "inherently defective in design and are not sufficiently adorned with adequate warnings".

It was filed on behalf of a Louisiana man but does not specify that he suffered any hearing loss.

Apple, which has sold 42 million iPods since they were launched in 2001, has not yet commented on the lawsuit.


The lawsuit was filed on behalf of John Kiel Patterson in a district court in San Jose, California. He wants it to be a class action.

The lawsuit says the iPod can generate more than 115 decibels, a level that could damage hearing to a user exposed for more than 28 seconds a day.

Mr Patterson's lawyer, Steve W Berman, told Associated Press news agency that his client did not know if he had suffered hearing loss but that that was not the issue.

"He's bought a product which is not safe to use as currently sold on the market," Mr Berman said.

"He's paying for a product that's defective, and the law is pretty clear that if someone sold you a defective product they have a duty to repair it."

Apple was forced to rework its iPod for France after it was shown to exceed that country's decibel limit of 100.

Each iPod does carry the warning that "permanent hearing loss may occur if earphones or headphones are used at high volume".

Apple sold more than 14 million iPods in the last three months of 2005, helping to almost double its quarterly profits.