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Apple victory survives appeal in iPod volume lawsuit

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.

by MacNN Staff




  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I hope...

    these idiots were charged plenty by their lawyers (I am sure they were cheap, class action status, and contingency)... and slapped down.

    When I am at the gym there are those who have their iPod earbuds blasting away and others can not be heard. Certainly there must be some kind of volume control on these things. I've gotten in cars with people who have their CDs and radios blasting through the roof. These people are known as morons--they love to feel, hear the beat, etc. Then they pay later for this attitude. You can't talk sense into them, they don't have any.

    BTW, do you know that in class action suits (if won) the lawyers get some huge amount of money (many, many thousands) for each person in the class action suit... even if the people get little or nothing. The lawyers don't care whether you are right or not as long as they win. Somehow the number $75,000 each sticks in my head. Anyone else have more specific details? They can lose lots of these suits but only need to win one or two.

  1. darkelf

    Joined: Dec 1969


    up next...

    this PENCIL could STAB ME IN THE EYE = class action suit = $$$

  1. lkrupp

    Joined: Dec 1969



    At least Apple is winning some of these frivolous suits, finally.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    yet another example of people not understanding the concept of 'personal responsibility'.

    Oh, and Apple added 'maximum volume' control to the iPod many a moon ago, so you could change it if you were concerned your ears might melt.

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Hearing Loss in Question?

    Let me be the first to say, "DUH!"

    People have suffered hearing loss from loud music for decades. Why should a player be any different than a rock concert, especially when one has direct control over the SPL? There really is no law here aimed at protecting people from their own stupidity, as it always has been and should be, there own business.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    try turning it down you dumb muthaf'ers

    for pete's sake they put a volume control on their for a reason

    who knew that listening to music at high volume for long periods will make you go deaf?

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