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

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
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.

Top Rated Comments

Kissmo1980 Avatar
13 weeks ago
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.
Score: 60 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ToeCough Avatar
13 weeks ago
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.
Score: 51 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AdamNC Avatar
13 weeks ago
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.
Score: 49 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GMShadow Avatar
13 weeks ago

The lawsuit claims that the Amber Alert "tore apart" B.G.'s eardrum, damaged his cochlea, and caused injuries to his hearing
I'm surprised they didn't go the whole hog and claim that his head 'literally exploded'.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sedulous Avatar
13 weeks ago
I am a bit surprised these earbuds have enough power to do that kind of damage in a single “blast”. Even at full volume, it is unpleasant but far from blowing up the ear.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
now i see it Avatar
13 weeks ago
Here’s the fix


Attachment Image
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

iPhone 13 Test Alerts Feature

Apple Adds 'Test Alerts' Toggle to iPhone Just in Case You Really Want to Receive Test Emergency Alerts

Friday July 22, 2022 7:07 am PDT by
Apple has added a new "Test Alerts" toggle to the Settings app in iOS 15.6 and the third beta of iOS 16. The toggle is visible only on iPhones connected to a U.S. carrier and allows users to enable test emergency alerts from the U.S. government. Turning on "Test Alerts" enables test emergency alerts to be received on both the iPhone and Apple Watch. The toggle is located in the Settings app ...
AirPods Combo Discount Feature Triad

Deals: Get AirPods Pro for $179.99 ($69 Off) and AirPods 3 for $159.99 ($19 Off)

Thursday July 28, 2022 6:53 am PDT by
Today we're tracking a pair of deals on the AirPods Pro and AirPods 3, available at Amazon and B&H Photo respectively. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. Starting with the AirPods Pro with MagSafe, you can get this model for $179.99 on Amazon,...
AirPods Combo Discount Feature Duo

Deals: Get AirPods for $99.99 and AirPods Pro for $179.99 on Amazon (Up to $69 Off)

Thursday August 11, 2022 6:17 am PDT by
Today we're tracking a pair of discounts on the AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro, and both deals are in stock and ready to ship from Amazon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. AirPods 2 Starting with the AirPods 2, you can get the headphones for $99.99, down from...
airpods pro black background

AirPods Pro 2: Five New Features and Improvements to Expect

Sunday August 14, 2022 3:28 pm PDT by
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro are finally nearing launch, with a release expected later this year. If you are considering upgrading to the new AirPods Pro once they are released, keep reading for a list of five new features to expect. In addition to all-new features, the second-generation AirPods Pro will likely adopt some features added to the standard AirPods last year. H2 Chip ...
airpodsd 3 purple 4

TikTok Trend Debunked: No, Apple Is Not Giving Away Free AirPods

Friday July 29, 2022 7:22 am PDT by
No, Apple is not giving away free AirPods, despite what you may be seeing on your TikTok "For You" page. In the last several weeks, hundreds of videos have spawned on TikTok claiming that Apple is giving away free AirPods replacement as long as you simply walk into an Apple Store and ask for a new free pair. The trend implies that "AirPods" users can walk into an Apple Store, claim their...
airpods yellow

Apple Settles AirPods Patent Dispute With Koss to Avoid Trial

Monday July 25, 2022 12:28 pm PDT by
Apple has settled an AirPods-related patent infringement lawsuit with audio manufacturer Koss, according to a court filing submitted on Saturday that was highlighted by Reuters. Koss had accused Apple of infringing on its wireless headphone technology patents with AirPods and Beats products. Koss said that AirPods and Beats wireless headphones violated a handful of patents related to...
airpods pro 2 1

AirPods Pro 2 Said to Feature Upgraded H1 Chip, Find My, Heart Rate Detection, USB-C and More

Friday June 24, 2022 9:48 am PDT by
The next-generation AirPods Pro could come with a long list of new features that include heart rate detection, the ability to function as a hearing aid, and a USB-C port according to a report from 52Audio. The site claims that it has received new information on the AirPods Pro 2, and it has used that information to provide some renders on what the earbuds might look like. Design wise, there...
AirPods Combo Discount Feature Yellow

Deals: Get Apple's AirPods for Best Prices of 2022 on Amazon, Starting at $99.99

Thursday June 23, 2022 6:06 am PDT by
Apple's AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro have returned to some of the best prices we've tracked in 2022, with as much as $74 off these wireless headphones. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. AirPods 2 You can get the AirPods 2 for $99.99, down from $129.00. This is...

Popular Stories

airpods pro black background

AirPods Pro 2: Five New Features and Improvements to Expect

Sunday August 14, 2022 3:28 pm PDT by
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro are finally nearing launch, with a release expected later this year. If you are considering upgrading to the new AirPods Pro once they are released, keep reading for a list of five new features to expect. In addition to all-new features, the second-generation AirPods Pro will likely adopt some features added to the standard AirPods last year. H2 Chip ...
10th Generation iPad Render

10th-Generation iPad With Major Design Changes Reportedly in Production Ahead of September Launch

Monday August 15, 2022 8:02 pm PDT by
Apple's rumored 10th-generation iPad is currently in production and will feature "major" design changes, according to a report from Taiwanese website DigiTimes. A mockup of the potential 10th-generation iPad design by Renders By Shailesh The report did not provide any specific details about the 10th-generation iPad's new design, but rumors suggest the device will feature a larger 10.5-inch...
ios 16 lock screen feature2

Apple Seeds Sixth Betas of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Monday August 15, 2022 10:04 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the sixth betas of upcoming iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the updates coming a week after Apple released the fifth developer betas. Registered developers can download the iOS and iPadOS 16 profiles from the Apple Developer Center, and once installed, the betas will be available over the air. iOS 16 introduces a revamped Lock...
iPhone 14 Dummies 1 Feature

Everything Rumored for Apple's September Event: iPhone 14, Apple Watch Pro and More

Friday August 12, 2022 2:34 pm PDT by
There's just about a month to go until Apple holds its annual September event focusing on new iPhone and Apple Watch models. We thought we'd take a quick look at everything that's rumored for Apple's September event to give MacRumors readers a rundown on what to expect when the first fall event rolls around. iPhone 14 The iPhone 14 can probably be described more as an "iPhone 13S" because...
apple watch se

Apple Watch SE vs. Apple Watch Series 8: New Features to Expect If You've Waited to Upgrade

Monday August 15, 2022 2:44 am PDT by
The Apple Watch SE was announced in September 2020 and has been a popular Apple Watch model for customers looking for their first smartwatch or an affordable Apple Watch. Apple Watch SE customers may be wondering, however, what's in store for them with the upcoming Apple Watch Series 8 and what new features they can expect. Continue reading to find out. Apple Watch SE vs. Apple Watch Series ...
Apple Watch Series 3 v 8 1

Apple Watch Series 3 vs. Apple Watch Series 8: 20 Major New Features and Changes for Customers Upgrading

Tuesday August 16, 2022 6:52 am PDT by
It's crazy to think about, but next month will mark five years since Apple announced the Apple Watch Series 3. Despite being a severely antiquated smartwatch, the Series 3 has remained at the bottom of Apple's lineup for $199. Suppose you're still holding on to your Apple Watch Series 3. In that case, this article will list all the major new features and changes you'll get if you decide to...
iPhone 14 Pro Lineup Feature Purple

Apple Planning to Hold iPhone 14 Event on September 7

Wednesday August 17, 2022 9:51 am PDT by
Apple is aiming to hold its first fall event on Wednesday, September 7, reports Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The event will focus on the iPhone 14 models and the Apple Watch Series 8. The standard iPhone 14 models are expected to get few changes, but the iPhone 14 Pro models will include updated camera technology, the removal of the notch in favor of a pill-shaped and hole-punch cutout, an A16...