Parents Claim Apple AirPods Burst Their Son’s Eardrums

A new lawsuit against Apple claims that the company has ignored customer complaints about the volume level for years—and now their son has to wear a hearing aid.

A 12-year-old had his eardrum “torn apart” by the volume of an Amber Alert coming through his AirPods, according to a lawsuit against Apple filed this week.

The complaint, filed by his parents, allege that in May 2020, the teen was watching Netflix with his AirPods connected when an Amber Alert went off without warning “at a volume that tore apart B.G.’s ear drum, damaged his cochlea” and causing significant damage to his hearing and health, including permanent hearing loss in his right ear, bouts of dizziness, vertigo, and nausea.  

According to the complaint, filed on Monday, the alert produced “ear shattering sound levels that ripped open B.G.’s right ear drum and damaged his cochlea during an Amber Alert notification, causing B.G. to suffer from tinnitus, significant and permanent hearing loss, other temporary or permanent injuries, pain, suffering, and disabilities leading to the loss of the pleasures of life.” He now has to wear a hearing aid, his parents allege.

The CDC says that sound levels above 70 decibels over an extended period can damage your hearing, while loud noise above 120 decibels can cause “immediate harm” to your ears. The average listening level for AirPod wearers is 94 decibels. Apple does allow users to turn off or customize emergency alerts, but you’ll have to navigate through settings to find it, as they’re on by default.

As industry blog MacRumors notes, people have been complaining about the volume of the emergency alerts on AirPods for years—one person on Reddit said the alerts “destroyed” his eardrums, and that “the alert sound comes through the headphones MUCH louder than I would have guessed the maximum possible volume to be.” The lawsuit alleges that Apple’s been ignoring many of the complaints coming from users about the level of emergency alerts on its support pages.

The full complaint can be viewed here.


headphones, lawsuits, AirPods

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