Apple faces lawsuit as Amber Alert on AirPods causes hearing damage

One third-generation AirPod inside an ear.

Sam Smart / Android Authority

TL;DR

  • Apple is facing a lawsuit after a 12-year-old suffered hearing damage from his AirPods.
  • A loud Amber Alert on the earbuds reportedly tore the boy’s eardrum.
  • The suit alleges Apple doesn’t provide any way to adjust alert sounds.

A couple from Texas has filed a lawsuit against Apple alleging that an Amber Alert received on their son’s AirPods caused him permanent hearing damage.

As reported by NBC News, the 12-year-old boy now needs a hearing aid for the rest of his life because his AirPods emitted the alert so loud that it tore one of his eardrums.

Now aged 14, the boy was using a pair of Apple’s AirPods Pro while streaming Netflix on his iPhone. An Amber Alert came in just as the boy was using the true wireless earbuds and caused a spike in volume, which was set to low while he was watching Netflix. The report says that the sound “tore his eardrum, damaged his cochlea, and caused significant injuries,” says the report. The boy also reportedly suffered dizziness, vertigo, nausea, and tinnitus after the accident.

“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 noted. It also added that Apple doesn’t provide any way to adjust alert sounds. The company has also been accused of not warning users that the volume could increase so much that it would cause physical damage.

Not a one-off?

NBC also points out other online complaints referring to the same problem.

In Settings, there appears to be no way to differentiate sound levels between devices like headphones, AirPods, the built-in speaker, etc. If I lower the volume slider under ‘Sounds and Haptics’ to a level that is comfortable when wearing the AirPods, then it gets way too low for me to hear other phone alerts when I’m not wearing them.

Also check out: The best AirPods alternatives

Another Reddit user wrote, “I was just sitting in a completely quiet room with my AirPods in, when bam! I got a bleep, bloop, bloop” noise that I guess indicated my battery was low or something. My ears are still ringing.”

“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 more complaint reads.

Apple has not yet issued a comment on the issue.

Have you experienced a similar problem with your AirPods? Let us know in the comments section below.

Leave a Comment