Because turning the volume down is too obvious:
A Louisiana man claims in a lawsuit that Apple’s iPod music player can cause hearing loss in people who use it.
Apple has sold more than 42 million of the devices since they went on sale in 2001, including 14 million in the fourth quarter last year. The devices can produce sounds of more than 115 decibels, a volume that can damage the hearing of a person exposed to the sound for more than 28 seconds per day, according to the complaint.
The iPod players are “inherently defective in design and are not sufficiently adorned with adequate warnings regarding the likelihood of hearing loss,” according to the complaint, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif., on behalf of John Kiel Patterson of Louisiana.
Personally, I use my iPod at a low volume. Most times, I keep the volume at no more than 20% of the available volume. Perhaps this is still a significant volume and I don’t know it, but I’ve noticed no difference. And if a song, audiobook, or podcast is too loud, I quickly turn it down. (I usually don’t have to because I’m smart enough to start low and adjust up. Strange concept.) It seems apparent that Mr. Patterson’s lawsuit is without merit.
There are potential consequences to everyone who knows how to operate the volume if Mr. Patterson’s lawsuit ends in a victory for him:
Apple was forced to pull the iPod from store shelves in France and upgrade software on the device to limit sound to 100 decibels, but has not followed suit in the United States, according to the complaint. The headphones commonly referred to as ear buds, which ship with the iPod, also contribute to noise-induced hearing loss because they do not dilute the sound entering the ear and are closer to the ear canal than other sound sources, the complaint states.
I prefer the volume choice the iPod offers since I’m not always listening with earphones. Sometimes I feed my music to my car stereo through an FM transmitter. The transmitter sends a low volume signal. Turning up the volume on the iPod is the most effective way to get a quality, reasonable volume sound. When I want to hook it up to my stereo, the same scenario applies.
Apple appears to have engineered the iPod to be versatile, implementing flexibility with a dose of trust in the consumer’s intelligence. Aside from the meddling aspect, a change such as that imposed in France would reduce the functionality of the iPod. One day I’m going to want a video iPod. I expect it to offer me the same choice I have today. People like Mr. Patterson need to stop with the
money grabs helping.