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Lawsuit Claims Ipod is Too Loud [05/30/2006]
Louisiana resident John Kiel Patterson filed a lawsuit that claims Apple's iPod can cause hearing loss. The suit, submitted to a San Jose, Calif. federal court seeks class-action status, compensation for hearing loss suffered by iPod users, and demands that Apple Computer update the iPod software so the portable music players can't blast tunes at more than 100 decibels.

"Millions of consumers have had their hearing put at risk by Apple’s conduct,” states the lawsuit. Apple has an entry in the iPod manual regarding the earbud's link to hearing damage, and instructions on how to minimize the risk of such damage, the warning in the manual suggests to keep volume at a “safe level,” however, the suit claims this is unsatisfactory as it does not advice listeners as to what a safe level should be.

Many experts say that the use of earbud-style headphone like those bundled with iPods can lead to hearing loss. Patterson's suit charges Apple with not advising users of a safe listening volume, nor including a meter on the devices to monitor decibel levels.

"The ear buds are small and are placed in the listener's ear canal, close to the cochlea,' the lawsuit reads. "The close proximity to the ear canal directly impacts the amount of hearing loss caused by the MPs [music players], simply because there is less chance of dilution of the sound.'

Studies show that listening to music at 115 db for more than 30 seconds a day can cause permenant hearing damage to even the healthiest of listeners, Apple’s iPod provides no preventation for such use of the player.

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