Earbuds can shock you. The majority of cases involve nothing more than a static electrical discharge, but there are also cases involving electrical injury and burns. It is even possible to be electrocuted.
These outcomes depend on whether you are wearing wired or wireless earbuds and whether they are connected to a direct AC power source and the voltage.
How can they zap you with AC current?
Wired earpieces can cause you to suffer an electrical injury if they are plugged into a phone or other device that is getting its power directly from an AC power source such as a wall outlet or socket. The risk of injury from wireless ones are virtually nonexistent because the AC current can be transferred through wires.
Static electricity concerns
Apple said that it is “possible to receive a small and quick electrostatic shock from your earbuds when you listen to your iPod, iPhone, or Mac computer,” according to a February 27, 2018 statement. Apple went on to explain: A person’s “ears might receive a small electrostatic discharge from the earbuds,” but that “doesn’t mean that there’s an issue with your device or the earbuds.”
Around the same time as Apple’s statement, a woman in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, shared in a Facebook post that she experienced an electric shock from her earbuds. She said she heard a “zapping” and she could “feel the electric shock in her mouth.” She said that after she removed them from her ears, she experienced pain, swollen lips and a metallic taste in her mouth. Eventually, those conditions disappeared. The woman was folding laundry when the incident occurred.
Electric shock death by earbuds
There are no official statistics about electric shock death by earbuds. However, if a person is wearing wired earpieces that are somehow connected to a source of AC power, there is the possibility of electrocution or injury from an electrical current. It is common for households to have AC power with 110V to 220V.
There have been media reports of several cases where people have died with headphones in their ears while their cell phones were charging. Burns to the ear and the melting of the headphones have also been reported.
Can you get burns from them?
In August 2019, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall of “Happy Plugs . . . Wireless Headphones Due to Burn Hazard.” The CPSC announced that the “micro-USB charging cable packaged with Happy Plugs wireless headphones can cause the headphones to overheat, posing a burn hazard to consumers.”
How to prevent electric shock from earbuds
Follow these safety tips to protect yourself and prevent an electrical injury from earpieces
- Avoid wearing clothes made of synthetic fibers because they are more likely to hold a static charge
- Avoid rubbing your device (to which your earbuds are attached) on materials can cause a static buildup
- Do not use your earbuds while you are charging your cell phone
- Do not use earbuds when the wire coating is torn, the wiring is exposed or when the earbuds otherwise seem damaged
- Do not fall asleep with earbuds in
- Use wireless earbuds
- When using wired earbuds, make sure the device to which they are attached is not plugged directly into an AC power source
Need help from an experienced electrocution lawyer?
If you or someone you love is a victim of serious personal injury or death caused by electricity, you can call and speak with Jeff Feldman, perhaps the nation’s most experienced electrocution attorney. Jeff has litigated electrocution and severe shock injury cases against utility companies throughout the country. You can call toll free at (800) 548-0043 for a free consultation.Tags: Can earbuds shock you