APPLE has been sued by the family of a Texas child who allegedly suffered permanent hearing loss while wearing AirPods.
The 12-year-old is said to have ruptured his eardrum after hearing an Amber Alert on the earbuds while watching Netflix on an iPhone.
The public safety alerts on iPhones and Apple Watch notify users about missing and abducted children.
In the lawsuit filed Monday, parents Carlos Gordoa and Ariani Reyes said the AirPods were defective because they play alerts at dangerous volume, regardless of the volume set by the user.
They accused the company of gross negligence and fraud.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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According to the suit, the injury happened in May 2020 while the boy, identified as B.G., was wearing an AirPod in his right ear.
The family said an Amber Alert abruptly produced an "ear-shattering" sound.
The noise allegedly ruptured B.G.'s eardrum and damaged his inner ear.
As a result, B.G. has permanent hearing loss and tinnitus, suffers from dizziness and needs to wear a hearing aid, according to the lawsuit.
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The family said Apple was aware that its AirPods played extremely loud alerts from online complaints going back to 2019.
Users noted on forums that AirPods did not adjust the alert volume to match that of the media they were playing.
The lawsuit claimed that Apple failed to design AirPods to "self-adjust to safe levels or provided warnings about the volume increases associated with alerts."
Had the company done this, the "boy would be living a normal life," the family said.
"This boy's life has been severely altered because Apple did not provide a warning about the volume levels of its AirPods, leading to his permanent hearing loss," Tej Paranjpe of PMR Law, a lawyer for the family, said in a statement.
The lawsuit was filed in San Jose, California, federal court.
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Amber (America's Missing: Broadcasting Emergency Response) alerts let citizens know when police are tracking a missing person who might be in your area.
You can toggle the alerts on and off by going to Settings > Notifications > Government Alerts.
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