updated 03:55 pm EST, Wed December 30, 2009
Plaintiffs argued for danger of hearing loss
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a 2008 district court ruling, taking the side of Apple in a class action lawsuit over iPod volume, says Reuters. Plaintiffs Joseph Birdsong and Bruce Waggoner earlier argued that iPods present an unreasonable risk of hearing loss, as they can raise their volume up to 115dB, while lacking any volume meters or noise isolation properties. Designing the stock earbuds to be placed deep in the ear canal has only exacerbated the problem, the plaintiffs alleged.
The Court of Appeals ruling states that the plaintiffs have only been able to show that iPods could be made safer, not that they are inherently 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," writes senior judge David Thompson. "At most, the plaintiffs plead a potential risk of hearing loss not to themselves, but to other unidentified iPod users."
Birdsong and Waggoner have also been judged as lacking in standing for accusing Apple of violating California's unfair competition law. Had the pair won, the intention was to seek damage compensation, and improved safety and disclosures. Some safety measures would have included better earbuds, and potentially testing iPod owners for hearing loss.