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In brief: Apple and its manufacturing partner are being sued by the family of a 12-year-old boy over allegations he suffered permanent hearing damage as a result of an Amber Alert playing at an "ear-shattering level" through his AirPods Pro.
Street Insider reports that the boy's family is suing both Apple and its manufacturing partner Luxhshare in the lawsuit filed in San Jose, California, this week. Carlos Gordoa and Ariani Reyes say their son, identified only as B.G, must now wear a hearing aid for the rest of his life as a result of the Amber Alert.
The family says the incident occurred when B.G. was watching Netflix on his iPhone with one of the wireless buds in his right ear. According to the suit, an Amber Alert played at a level so loud it "tore apart" B.G.'s eardrum, damaged his cochlea, and injured his hearing. In addition to requiring a hearing aid due to hearing loss, he now suffers from tinnitus and dizziness.
Apple and Luxshare are accused of "negligence and fraud for failing to properly design and test the devices, failing to warn users that the earbuds are prone to rapid and unexpected increases in ear volume, and failing to properly manufacture the AirPods."
The suit adds that if Apple had designed the AirPods to self-adjust to safe levels or provide warnings about the volume increases associated with alerts, B.G. would be "living a normal life."
Cupertino is also accused of receiving at least 1,538 complaints about sudden volume increases occurring with the AirPods through alerts or notifications since 2019.
The family is seeking damages for the boy's physical harm, pain and suffering, disability, mental anguish, emotional trauma, and future medical expenses, as well as punitive damages against Apple.
Amber Alerts are emergency, government, and public safety alerts that cover imminent threats to safety and life, as well as extreme weather conditions. They can be turned off in the Settings app, though Government alerts cannot be turned off in some countries and regions.