NEW YORK – A Rockland County, N.Y., woman claims defective headphones zapped her hearing as she watched the “Fat Albert” movie on an airplane.

Vanessa Saunders, 51, said she rented the headphones for $5 on a Continental Airlines flight last year as she was returning home from a business trip to Las Vegas.

About halfway through the flick, the headphones began to malfunction, she contends in a lawsuit filed in Brooklyn Federal Court.

“There was a lot of static and all of a sudden there was one huge “Bang!”‘ Saunders told the New York Daily News. “I threw (the headphones) off and screamed. My ears started to bleed. It blew out everyone’s headsets in my row.”

She said the flight attendants offered her only a glass of Scotch for the pain and refused to hand over the headphones. “They weren’t very kind at all,” she said.

Saunders had suffered some hearing loss about 20 years ago due to meningitis. She was not wearing her hearing aids at the time of the airplane incident.

But her lawyer, Michael Mossberg, said her hearing has deteriorated so much that she needs more powerful hearing aids, which cost $9,000.

Her hearing loss has affected not only her work as a real estate agent and the operator of a cooking school, but her personal life, as well. “People tell me I shout at them. And when I watch television, for my family it is a nightmare because I have it so loud,” she said.

The attorney representing Continental Airlines did not return a call for comment.


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