Thursday, December 27, 2007

Apple Patent Helps Prevent Hearing Loss

Apple has filed for a patent that may help prevent hearing loss or damage resulting from their portable media devices by automatically lowering the volume based on the duration of the listening period."Since the damaging effect on users' hearing is both gradual and cumulative," Apple wrote in its application, "even those users who are concerned about hearing loss may not behave with respect to their portable media players in a manner that would limit or minimize such damaging hearing effects."The application details a method for constantly analyzing a song being played and the duration of the listening period in order to formulate a customized maximum value on the device.According to the application, "The refining is configured to prevent/minimize harm to hearing of the media player user based, for example, on the actual volume of media playback and time/duration profiles provided by occupational safety and/or other organizations."While the possibility of Apple releasing an iPod with this technology is certainly likely, it is important to note that Apple has not announced one, nor has the patent yet been granted. Also, filing the patent could be considered by some as an admission that the iPod could, by misuse by the consumer, contribute to hearing loss, and may leave them open to litigation attempts.

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