John Kiel Patterson filed a class action suit in California alleging that iPods are "inherently defective in design and are not sufficiently adorned with adequate warnings".
Patterson's lawyer told Associated Press that Apple is still liable whether or not the player had caused actual damage to his client's hearing.
"He has bought a product which is not safe to use as currently sold on the market," said the lawyer.
"He is paying for a product that's defective, and the law is pretty clear that if someone sold you a defective product they have a duty to repair it."
The suit claims that the player is capable of 115 decibels, a sound level that it alleges could cause damage in less than a minute's play per day.
All iPods carry the warning that "permanent hearing loss may occur if earphones or headphones are used at high volume".
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