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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Apple's AirPods ruptured the eardrums of a 12-year-old boy in 2020 when a loud Amber Alert was issued, according to a lawsuit filed against Apple in California (via Law360).

airpodsproinear.jpg

The child, identified as B.G. in the filing, was watching a movie on Netflix on his iPhone in 2020 while wearing AirPods Pro. The AirPods Pro were allegedly set at a low volume, but an Amber Alert sounded without warning and the high-pitched noise damaged B.G.'s eardrums.

The lawsuit claims that the Amber Alert "tore apart" B.G.'s eardrum, damaged his cochlea, and caused injuries to his hearing. He has since suffered from bouts of dizziness, vertigo, tinnitus, and nausea, and there is permanent hearing loss in his right ear, requiring him to wear a hearing aid.

Apple is accused of producing "defective" AirPods that do not automatically reduce the volume of alerts or equalize notification and alert volumes. The lawsuit faults Apple for failing to include warnings about the potential issue, and claims that Apple was aware of the alleged design defects.
As a direct and proximate result of each and all Defendants' negligence in designing, manufacturing, and marketing the defective AirPods, B.G. has suffered significant temporary and permanent, continuous injuries, pain and suffering, disability, and impairment. B.G. has suffered mental anguish, emotional trauma, physical harm, injuries, disability, and impairment in the past and that will continue into the future. B.G. has lost his ability to live a normal life, and he will continue to live a diminished life into the future, including a diminished earning capacity. Furthermore, B.G. has medical bills both past and future related to care arising from and relating to the injuries suffered as a result of the defective AirPods.
The lawsuit is seeking damages for B.G. and his parents, who are suffering from serious emotional stress caused by the AirPods incident. It asks for "punitive damages in amounts that would punish Defendants for their conduct and which would deter other technology companies from engaging in such misconduct in the future."

There have been other social media complaints about the noise of Amber Alerts when wearing AirPods. Amber Alerts are designed to catch the attention of iPhone owners, causing devices to play a loud sound and vibrate. Reports on the internet suggest that the Amber Alert sound is indeed very loud when played through AirPods, even when those AirPods are set at a reasonable volume.

Amber Alerts can be turned off in the Settings app by opening up the Notifications section, scrolling to the bottom, and tapping on the toggle to deactivate the alert. There are also options for turning off Emergency Alerts and Public Safety Alerts, though it is worth noting that alerts cannot be disabled in all countries.

The full AirPods complaint can be read on Scribd for those interested.

Article Link: Apple Facing Lawsuit After AirPods Allegedly Ruptured Child's Eardrums With Amber Alert
 

ToeCough

macrumors newbie
Apr 23, 2020
4
80
I've had to turn off Amber Alerts and Silver Alerts due to how buggy and misused they are. For example, I've had the same amber alert delivered to be every 5 minutes for an hour.

Just this week, Los Angeles residents received an evacuation order alert that was supposed to be just an internal test. I've lost all trust in the system.
 

Realityck

macrumors 601
Nov 9, 2015
4,431
6,113
Silicon Valley, CA
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.
I have to ask have there been any other instances of something like this ever occurring?
 

Kissmo1980

macrumors regular
Feb 16, 2021
129
348
Those Amber alerts are irresponsible on how loud they are.
I was driving and both mine and my wife’s phones started screaming.
Almost made a car crash.

Idiotic mentality to put these at maximum. Why?????

Put a normal volume and a notification that will be persistent until dismissed.
No need to scream.

I actually hope more people will send to court mobile providers and governments for stupidly loud notifications.
 
Last edited:

AdamNC

macrumors 6502a
Feb 3, 2018
589
728
Leland NC
To burst an ear drum requires over 165db. I call absolute BS on this story. Parents just trying to make a buck.

The noise intensity to rupture an eardrum would have to be very loud, usually 165 decibels or more. This would correspond to the sound intensity of a gunshot at close range, fireworks or extremely loud music. Although the eardrum will heal, damage to the inner ear is often permeant.
 

saudor

macrumors 65816
Jul 18, 2011
1,215
1,365
Cant even turn these alerts off in Canada unless you connect to the 3G network. I get the whole "for the children!!!" and whatnot but come on. Some people have health issues and those who hate this system to begin with aren't going to magically do anything if it's forced on them.
 

macduke

macrumors G5
Jun 27, 2007
12,066
17,095
Central U.S.
I have Amber Alerts turned off. They're obnoxious and I work at home so I'm unlikely to see anything anyway.

Even so, I got this alert earlier this year. It was an alert describing the Joker from Batman here in Missouri. I kid you not. It was a test gone wrong.

FJa4cuDWUAIyUNw.jpeg


I don't have much trust in the system, lol.
 
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