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Congressman lauds Apple for iPod update

updated 03:40 pm EST, Wed March 29, 2006

Congressman lauds Apple

Democratic Representative Edward J. Markey today publicly lauded Apple for releasing its iPod software update that allows users to limit the volume on the popular music player. The software update followed several reports on possible hearing loss caused by the iPod and a recent lawsuit against the company. Markey, a senior official on the House Energy & Commerce Committee, said that the move will help consumers protect themselves from hearing loss. "I commend Apple for taking this important first step in giving consumers the tools they need to protect themselves from possible hearing loss," said Rep. Markey. "There is no doubt that consumers have benefited from the remarkable innovation we have seen in portable music players over the past few years in terms of both choice and value, but we need to make sure to avoid preventable hearing damage that could turn consumers off to these devices permanently."

Earlier this year, a lawsuit against Apple claimed that the iPod causes hearing loss, that the company does not adequately warn users of the risks, and that the design of its white earbud phones excerbate inherent risks. That lawsuit, which noted that Apple was forced to pull the iPod from shelves in France and upgrade the software to limit the sound output to 100 decibels, is still pending.

The Congressman continued by saying that he hopes other manufacturers will follow, but noted the need for more research to determine the impact of such devices on hearing loss. Earlier this year, Markey sent a letter to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NICDOC) at the National Institutes of Health requesting a review of the available scientific information regarding the impact of portable music players.

"It is my hope that other portable music device manufacturers will follow Apple's lead and give consumers the chance to set the maximum volume at a safe level," Rep. Markey said in a statement obtained by MacNN.

"At the same time, further research is needed to determine with certainty the possibilities of noise induced hearing losses from these devices and safe limits for both volume and listening duration. The bottom line is that consumers need to know if they are at risk and what can be done to reduce the possibility of injury from these devices. Once consumers have this information they will be better able to use Apple's new technology to protect themselves."

Ironically, at least one report has claimed that Apple''s engineers increased the sound output because Apple CEO Steve Jobs is partially deaf.

Markey has been pivotal in the effort in Congress to prevent noise induced hearing loss from portable music players. In response to his January letter, the NIDOCD agreed that this was an area of concern, but said that "the limited nature of the available research prevents them from offering the type of firm recommendations that are needed to ensure that consumers are fully protected from the possibility of injury."




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. afaby

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Whatever happened to..

    personal responsibility in this country?

  1. jarod

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Seriously

    How about forcing companies to wipe people's asses too!? Geez man. If you're a bloody moron enough to blast speakers in your ears, then to h*** with you and your hearing. Don't blame someone else for your stupidity!

  1. just a poster

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Easy fix

    I wonder if future anandtech reviews of MP3 players dock Microsoft-based players for not having this important feature.

  1. porieux

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    huh?

    Was there ever an iPod without a volume control???

    I don't think so.

  1. Foe Hammer

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    What Happens ...

    ... if I'm listening to my iPod and I spill hot coffee on myself? Should I sue Apple or McDonalds or both because no one told me that listening to music may distract me enough that I won't read the "Caution: The bevergage you're about to enjoy is served at 1000 degrees Kelvin" warning on the cup? Perhaps the answer lies in whether the coffee made me want to go listen to my iPod or my iPod made me want to go drink coffee.

  1. porieux

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    dorks

    >>. upgrade the software to limit the sound output to 100 decibels

    This is impossible. Headphones all have different impedances and sensitivity levels. How dumb can you get?

  1. porieux

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    whowever

    If someone wants to protect the hearing of innocent people, then please focus on live concerts where people DO NOT HAVE A CHOICE over the volume, and it is usually at dangerous/damaging levels.

  1. jhorvatic

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    It is still up to the con

    It is still up to the consumer to protect themselves and use common sense. Apple did a good deed that they really didn't have to do. The iPod has a volume control and people really need to use it smartly. Apple can't hold your fricken hand everytime you use your iPod. The lawsuits are all really stupid and a waste of the courts time. There are so many devices out there that can damage your hearing if played loud enough like an iPod. It's like the old saying goes guns don't kill people, people kill people with guns. Just as the iPod can't make you deaf, only you can by turning up the volume to high.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: whatever happened

    personal responsibility in this country?

    Its been gone for decades now. Why do you think your average product manual for anything contains pages of do's and don'ts. Because people are too stupid, and lawyers have convinced juries that people's stupidity shouldn't be counted against them. If no one tells you that if you ride a bike at night without lights and wearing dark clothing, that cars won't be able to see you. So its the bike makers fault for not warning you on this.

  1. Roehlstation

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Don't want it?

    Don't install it, even if you do install it you have the option to limit it to whatever level you want. It will prevent people from accidentally starting a loud song with the volume turned all the way up.

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