A lawsuit has been filed against Apple in California (via Law360) claiming Apple’s AirPods ruptured the eardrums of a 12-year-old boy in 2020 when a loud Amber Alert was issued.
The filing says the boy, identified as B.G. in the filing, was watching a movie on Netflix on his iPhone in 2020 while wearing AirPods Pro. While the AirPods were allegedly set at a low volume, the Amber Alert sounded without warning, and high-pitched noise allegedly damaged B.G.’s eardrums.
The lawsuit claims that B.G.’s eardrums were torn apart, he had damage to his cochlea, and injuries to his hearing. The child 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.
The lawsuit accuses Apple of producing “defective” AirPods that do not automatically reduce the volume of alerts or equalize notification and alert volumes. The lawsuit faults the Cupertino firm for failing to include warnings about the potential issue, and it also 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 say they are suffering from serious emotional stress caused by the AirPods incident. Punitive damages are being asked in “amounts that would punish Defendants for their conduct and which would deter other technology companies from engaging in such misconduct in the future.”
Amber Alerts are designed to catch an iPhone owner’s attention by making a loud sound and vibrating. There have been reports on the internet by owners that the Amber Alert sound is very loud when played through AirPods, even when the AirPods are set at a lower volume.