A Texas couple sued Apple Monday alleging that their 12-year-old son suffered “permanent hearing loss” when his AirPods emitted an alert so loud that it tore one of his eardrums.
The boy, now 14 and identified in the lawsuit as B.G., was using his AirPods Pro with his iPhone to watch Netflix in 2020 when an Amber Alert came through, said the suit, filed by Carlos Gordoa and Ariani Reyes of San Antonio.
B.G. was watching Netflix on a “low volume,” the suit said, but when the Amber Alert was issued, it “went off suddenly, and without warning, at a volume that tore apart B.G.’s ear drum, damaged his cochlea, and caused significant injuries to B.G.’s hearing.”
B.G. will have to wear a hearing aid for the rest of his life, the suit said. He also suffered from dizziness, vertigo, nausea and tinnitus after the incident.
“The AirPods do not automatically reduce, control, limit, or increment notification or alert volumes to a safe level that causes them to emit,” the suit said. It added that there are no directions to adjust the alert sound or warnings that the volume could be so loud that it would cause damage.
Gordoa and Reyes’s lawsuit said Apple knew or should have known about the defect that caused the loud alerts, but chose not to fix it.
The suit includes examples of customers complaining about the problem online, lamenting that there is no way to adjust alert volume. The suit said there are hundreds of people seeking a solution to the issue on Apple’s support website.
“Please fix this. I literally threw my AirPod across the room when I got a shrill text alert while listening to peaceful music. Not cool,” one reads.