back to article Court: iPod hearing loss your fault, not Apple's

A US court has turned back an appeal of a 2008 ruling that declared that if you blow out your ears by listening to your iPod too loudly, it's your own damn fault. In a victory for common sense and personal responsibility, the court sided with the iPod manufacturer in the case of Birdsong v. Apple, Inc, originally filed in the …


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  1. Captain Save-a-ho

    Sign of the times?

    I, for one, cannot yet believe this is a sign that we will ultimately avoid the Idiocracy. Let's see a trend of common sense before I jump on the bandwagon.

    Let us hope strongly that this is the beginning of things to come.

  2. Andy Barker
    Thumb Up

    How could they appeal?

    Couldn't the judge in the original trial reject the appeal option, due to the case being a complete waste of court time?

    Reminds me of a case I heard of years ago where a poodle owner sued a manufacturer of microwave ovens for NOT saying she couldn't dry her dog in the microwave (hope it was folk lore).

    Good final result though, for common sense

    1. Jess

      Microwaved Poodle

      I have seen that in a movie.

      "Getting Wasted" I think.

      1. Annihilator

        Microwaved Poodle

        1998 film aptly titled "Urban Legend"

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    Common sense

    Talking of common sense, if you own a computer and an operating system capable of running on it ...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This blatant misuse of common sense must stop now

    Otherwise there will be far too many lawyers out of work in the US

  5. Eddie Johnson

    To Make this Really Good

    The trial judge should have awarded a few hundred thousand dollars in costs to Apple. People should know they face the prospect of bankruptcy for filing these Hail Mary nuisance suits.

  6. Gene Cash Silver badge

    I guess one has to sneak thru the cracks

    Now all the other judges have to work extra-hard to make up for Judge Thompson's failure to meet professional standards.

    1. Justin Clements


      Look up Frivolous law suit.

      Best example of a frivolous law suit that I heard about was a vote to make a US county a wet county (eg to allow the sale of liquor). The nay camp lost, and took a lawsuit to overturn the vote. A judge from an adjoining county (as the usual judge had obviously voted in this case) took the case.

      The case opened, and was adjourned almost immediately to the judge's office. In the office he quite firmly stated that the party seeking to overturn the vote would withdraw their case immediately, otherwise he would throw the case out and then pursue them under the Frivolous Laws that apply.

      The nay camp dropped the case within minutes.

  7. Lotaresco

    Say Whar?

    Settings > Volume Limit

    And if one is a parent one may lock that with a PIN. I wonder what mind-destroying chemicals the two plaintiffs had taken?

    1. Lance 3


      You do realize that the case was files on March 30th 2006 and Apple provided the volume limit on current generation iPods on March 29th, right?

  8. SuperTim

    Other iPod dangers!

    The ipod is a fairly dense and hard object and as such, throwing one with full force into someone's face will potentially cause injury and upset. Apple MUST now introduce an amply padded model that cannot possible hurt anyone (about the size of a large pillow).

    The upside is that you can lie on it while in bed!

    Am i too late to litigate?

  9. Mike Plowman

    About time!! New firmware?

    Dores this now mean that those of us who are stuck with the new Ipod Classic's pathetic volume limitation might reasonably expect a firmware update that might make it possible to hear music over average traffic noise.

    My ears. My music. My choice if I want it loud.

    Apple, give me the colume I should have had!!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Jobs Halo

      get decent headphones

      if you get some decent in ear noise blocking headphones, you don't have to drive the headphones as hard. I use Shure SE110's which are very comfortable

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Common sense

    rules that although all Apple needs to do is to include a suitable warning on headphone use.

    However, law requires a waste disposal unit manufacturer ought to make sure that no fingers can get into the mechanism.

    PS small conflict of interest as I have developed tinnitus recently.

  11. MonkeyBot

    Digital decibel meter?

    What a great idea, let's put a logarithmic scale on a consumer product. I'm sure that couldn't cause any confusion.

  12. Efros
    Paris Hilton

    good god

    A court decision that makes sense from a US court, has the world gone mad? next thing you know we'll be able to get hot coffee and burn our mouths with gay (non pejorative use of the word) abandon.

    Paris cos she has a label 'Hot may cause burns!" Presumably friction ones.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Digital decibel meter?

      The biggest problem I see with this idea is that you'd need a calibrated microphone to measure the volume level. This would need to be placed at a known position compared to the ear-drum to know the actual volume level at the eardrum. This also needs to be separate from the earphones to ensure that it continues to work after replacing the earphones that come with the iPod because they are a bit crap & too short to wear them with the iPod in your pocket.

      To be honest, the idea sounds like one from someone with no clue. Hopefully their imminent deaf-ness will prevent them from passing on their genes.*

      On the subject of the court-case and the judge, please can we have more of these.

      * Other deaf people should be perfectly entitled to pass on their genes; only the stupid should be prevented.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Digital Decibel Meter

      I assume they meant visualization in the form of a pair of volume meter display?

      Lots of MP3 players lack them. Sure, those who do have them are pretty much wasting CPU power, but then it does serve two purposes: make the screen less boring to look at, and let the user see the volume level of the output before he/she puts on the earbuds.

      I have a china-made MP3 player that do have such feature. Certainly adds more life to the display aside from the scrolling title, artist, album and track position, seriously. I can't believe many better MP3 players like Creative's and Apple's lack them.

      1. Monty Cantsin

        3m phones is not 3m people

        What would be the point of a volume meter display? I mean, you can hear if the audio is loud or quiet, why would you need to see it displayed on the screen, espically since a running music player spends most of its time in hidden away in a pocket or bag, where the screen can't be seen?

        As for being able to "see" the sound level before putting on your headphones, a lot of people put on their headphones before hitting "play", and anyway the start of a track is often a quiet part, so a low level is no indication of what's to come.

        Seem like a solution looking for a problem to me.

  13. blackworx


    Whilst I completely applaud this rare outbreak of common sense, there is an unfortunate side-effect: the rest of us must now find another way to get it through the iSheep's thick, thick skulls that, by insisting on cranking their crappy white earbuds all the way to eleven, we all hear more of their shitty, shitty music than they do.

  14. Mike Flex

    Digital decibel meter?

    MonkeyBot wrote: "let's put a logarithmic scale on a consumer product. I'm sure that couldn't cause any confusion."

    What's confusing about that? They've been on consumer audio and video recorders for decades.

  15. Richard Scratcher

    A miscarriage of justice

    Apple have failed in their responsibility to keep their customers safe.

    They should do the right thing and set all iPods to deliver a mandatory and uninterruptible warning message before each track is played. The iPod should be able to detect particularly loud tracks or passages within tracks and warn the user that he/she might want to turn the volume down a bit.

    1. James O'Brien

      You sir

      are an idiot. I mean seriously? You want Apple to do that because people are lemmings for the most part?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        No, *facepalm*, not seriously.

        Can you really not recognize some fairly-damn-unsubtle-actually tongue-in-cheek satire even when it smacks you quite so leadenly round the head? Please, don't make us have to break out the <joke> tags again.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Look for Sarcasm

        Main Entry: sar·casm

        Pronunciation: \ˈsär-ˌka-zəm\

        Function: noun

        Etymology: French or Late Latin; French sarcasme, from Late Latin sarcasmos, from Greek sarkasmos, from sarkazein to tear flesh, bite the lips in rage, sneer, from sark-, sarx flesh; probably akin to Avestan thwarəs- to cut

        Date: 1550

        1 : a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain

        2 a : a mode of satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter, caustic, and often ironic language that is usually directed against an individual b : the use or language of sarcasm

  16. Ermie Mercer

    "and the nanny state takes one in the teeth"

    This suit was brought by individuals, and the "Nanny State" threw it out!!

  17. Anonymous Coward

    I wonder.

    Smart Arse comment 1.

    Old Old B&W fillum.

    Deaf(ish) old man in witness box.

    Prosecutor asks question.

    Old man answers "What?" cupping hand to ear.

    Prosecutor repeats question.

    Old man answers "What?" cupping hand to ear.

    Prosecutor repeats question.

    Old man answers "What?" cupping hand to ear.

    Prosecutor yells question.

    Old man answers "No need to shout, I'm not deaf you know?"

    Prosecutor repeats question.

    Old man answers "What?" cupping hand to ear.

    Prosecutor repeats question.

    Old man answers "What?" cupping hand to ear.

    Prosecutor repeats question.

    Old man answers "What?" cupping hand to ear.

    Prosecutor yells question.

    Old man answers "No need to shout, I'm not deaf you know?"


    Smart Arse Statement 2.

    What is wrong with explosive earbuds?

  18. Big-nosed Pengie

    Just wait

    This will be overturned by a higher court. Common sense must not be allowed.

  19. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart


    A 'Merkin court makes a sensible decision, in favor of a large megabucks corporation.

    Perhaphs we can now look foward to other sensible decesions, susch as the realisation that unmaried mothers with no jobs cannot pay multi-millon dollar fines for ilegal downloading of a couple of songs.

    And in case James O'Brien doesn't spot it, this is also sarcasm.

  20. Karl H

    what about hammer / knife manufacturers ?

    I was hammering a nail in today, slipped and really smashed my thumb.

    a little while afterwards I was stripping some cable with a knife , slipped and sliced into my finger next to the thumb I'd hit earlier.

    Does anyone think I should sue "stanley" tools for not protecting me from the risks? or should I just be more careful ?

    (I didn't really)

    AND, what about the people who've died drinking too much water, should their relatives sue the water company for not saying you can drink too much ?

    There are some truly stupid people, and they really do get what they deserve. (and sometimes that includes me )

  21. Frank Bitterlich

    Fire the judge!

    If we allow this to go on, common sense will prevail... and we don't want to see /that/ happening to the US legal system.

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