A San Antonio family has filed a lawsuit against Apple and its partner companies for damages caused when the volume in their son's Apple AirPods increased without warning during an Amber Alert and caused permanent hearing loss. This issue could be persistent with over-the-counter (OTC) hearing devices that lack proper output and gain levels, thus causing patients to further damage their hearing loss.
According to the lawsuit, the boy was watching Netflix on his iPhone while wearing an AirPod in his right ear at a low volume. An Amber Alert notification unexpectedly produced ear-shattering sound levels, causing significant injuries and permanent hearing loss. Since the incident, the boy has suffered from nausea, dizziness, vertigo and tinnitus. He will have to wear a hearing aid for the rest of his life, according to the lawsuit.
"This boy's life has been severely altered because Apple did not provide a warning about the volume levels of its AirPods, leading to his permanent hearing loss," said PMR Law attorney and co-founder Tej Paranjpe. "Had Apple designed the AirPods to self-adjust to safe levels or provided warnings about the volume increases associated with alerts, this boy would be living a normal life."
The parents are suing Apple, Luxshare-ICT, Inc. and Luxshare Precision Industry Co. LTD for negligence and fraud for failing to properly design and test the devices, failing to warn users that the earbuds are prone to rapid and unexpected increases in ear volume, and failing to properly manufacture the AirPods.
The family is seeking damages for the boy's physical harm, pain and suffering, disability, mental anguish, emotional trauma, and future medical expenses as well as punitive damages against Apple.
"We hope this lawsuit will lead to positive changes for consumers wearing the Apple AirPods," says PMR Law attorney Robert Horn. "If we can prevent this from happening to another family, then that is a step in the right direction."