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On iPods and hearing loss: Just turn it down

We knew we could count on bloggers for some amusing feedback to today's news that an iPod owner is suing Apple Computer in federal court alleging that his music player causes hearing loss.


The suit, filed on behalf of John Kiel Patterson and all other iPod buyers, seeks monetary damages to compensate for the hearing loss suffered by iPod users as well as a share of Apple's iPod profits. The suit also seeks to force Apple to offer a software upgrade to limit the iPod's output to 100 decibels as well as provide headphones designed to block out external noise.

Apple does caution customers in its iPod user manual, with a section labeled "Avoid Hearing Damage." But the suit charges that the warning from Apple is inadequate because it fails to advise people what constitutes a "high volume" or a "safe level."

We had trouble finding bloggers out there standing behind Patterson and his allegations. Instead, most are calling it a frivolous, if not "stupid" lawsuit, and point out that it's up to individuals to protect themselves by . Some liken it to a lawsuit filed against Apple last fall arguing that the iPod Nano scratches too easily. They say it's another example of consumers unwilling to take any personal responsibility.

Blog community response:

"What's next, something like this? Microsoft Corporation was named in a lawsuit today by a West Virginia man claiming that Windows caused irreparable damage to his IQ. Film at 11."
--Shameless Geeks Say...

"Let's be clear. He's saying that the ABILITY of the iPod to play loudly is the problem. No one forced him to crank it. No one held a gun at his head and made him listen to 115db for days at a time. Steve Jobs didn't threaten to sell his family for dog food if he didn't max the volume on his iPod and leave it there. The iPod didn't break, and only play at that volume. There's no defect that causes the volume to only be that loud."

"My radio doesn't have a safety warning on it indicating to me that if I sit too close to it and turn up the volume there may be hearing damage. Movie theatres do not warn me that I will be exposed to noise levels over 100dB for the hour and a half I am sitting in the closed room DESIGNED to have sound bounce back at me to boot. Heck the airport doesn't have signs up around it that watching planes take off could be hazardous to my hearing."
--thoughts born of boredom

"Let's hope there's a judge in San Jose that tells Mr. Patterson that he did it to himself, and it's no one's fault but his own. If this lawsuit goes through, and it does become a class-action suit, as Patterson intends, then millions of people will frivolously claim their chunk of cash, and they will effectively destroy the iPod, and potentially Apple."
--Rick's Pop Culture Reviews--Music, Movies, Stuff