CUPERTINO, Calif. - Owners of recent iPods will now be able to set how loud their digital music players can go. Apple Computer Inc., facing complaints and a lawsuit claiming the popular player can cause hearing loss, made the setting available as part of a new software update Wednesday.
The free download applies to the iPod Nano and the iPod models with video-playback capabilities.
Parents also can use the feature to set a limit on their child's iPod and lock it with a code, the company added.
"As the leading provider of digital music players, Apple continuously brings iPod customers innovative and easy to use solutions," Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president for iPod marketing, said in a statement. "With the increased attention in this area, we want to offer customers an easy to use option to set their own personal volume limit."
Earlier this year, a Louisiana man filed a lawsuit against Apple, claiming that the iPod can cause hearing loss in people who use it.
The devices can produce sounds of more than 115 decibels, a volume that can damage the hearing of a person exposed to the sound for more than 28 seconds per day, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif.
Although the iPod is more popular than other types of portable music players, its ability to cause hearing loss isn't any higher, experts said.
Apple ships a warning with each iPod that cautions "permanent hearing loss may occur if earphones or headphones are used at high volume."