We’ve all been there. You’re blissfully walking down the street, totally enthralled by the latest mind-easing Gadgettes podcast episode when suddenly a high-pitched sound pierces through your brain. “Agh!” you squeal, as you desperately yank your earbuds free only to see everyone around you recoiling in similar unease. Shell shocked like a soldier storming Normandy beach, you finally compose yourself and realize the shrieking sound pummeling your skull was in fact an Amber Alert.
As annoying as they are, Amber Alerts are crucial, sometimes life-saving services. The Department of Justice claims at least 123 children have been rescued thanks to the wireless alert system. Still, they’re loud as shit, so much so that a pair of Texas parents claim the alerts caused their son permanent hearing loss.
In a recent legal complaint, Carlos Gordoa and Ariani Reyes claim their then 12-year-old son, identified as “B.G” was watching Netflix with a pair of AirPods when the amber alert blared and “tore apart [his] ear drum.” The complaint alleges the sound caused the boy dizziness, vertigo, and nausea, as well as sudden and permanent hearing loss, allegedly damaging his cochlea (no, not that one). B.G. allegedly suffers from tinnitus, something his parents say occurred only after the alert incident. The parents claim B.G. listened to his shows on low volume.
“The severe hearing loss in B.G.’s right ear continues to persist,” the complaint reads. “B.G. will require consistent clinical follow-up visits, testing and monitoring, and must use a hearing aid for the rest of his life.”
The suit accused Apple of making “defective” products that fail to automatically reduce or limit notification volume and fail to include proper warning alerts. The suit claims, “an unreasonably dangerous environment is created in the ear,” when AirPod users shove the devices in according to Apple’s instructions. Gizmodo reached out to Apple about the suit’s claims but we haven’t heard back.
“The AirPods were and are dangerous when used by consumers with common knowledge as to the device’s characteristics and common usage,” the complaint reads. “The AirPods, as designed, were insufficiently tested and caused harmful adverse events that outweighed any potential utility.”
You can read the full legal complaint below.