11:03 AM

Apple Hears Complaints, Offers Volume Controls

A free software update, available immediately, lets users set maximum volume limits. In addition, parents can set and lock volume limits on their children's music players.

Faced with criticism and litigation charging its portable music players can cause hearing loss, Apple Computer Wednesday released a software update for fifth-generation iPods and the iPod nano. The free software, available on Apple's home page, provides easy volume settings for the devices.

The 1.1.1 software update, available immediately, enables users to set maximum volume limits. In addition, parents can set and lock maximum volume limits on their children's music players with the update.

"With the increased attention in this area, we want to offer customers an easy-to-use option to set their own personal volume limit," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of Worldwide iPod Product Marketing, in a statement.

The software update works with any listening device that can be plugged into the devices' headphone jack as well as with the iPod Radio Remote.

Critics have been alarmed particularly by the use of earbud earphones for all music devices, but concern has grown as the devices become increasingly portable, triggering widespread use of the devices.

In February, a Louisiana man filed a lawsuit against Apple, claiming his use of an iPod had caused his hearing loss.

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