Shocking News: iPod Earbuds May Zap Your Ears

May 19th, 2009 | By | Category: iPod Accessories, iPods & Portable Media Players

From the Apple Support website, some hair-raising news (nyuk nyuk nyuk): “It’s possible to receive a small and quick electrical (static) shock from your earbuds while listening to iPod or iPhone.”


Turns out, when the air is very dry or very windy — or if you are excercising with your player in your pocket — using the headphones that come with your iPod, iPhone, or iPod Touch may cause static electricity to build up. “This condition is very similar to dragging your feet across a carpet and receiving a static shock by touching a door knob,” Apple Support says.

But instead of discharging the static by shocking your finger when you touch a doorknob or light switch, the discharge comes and zaps you through your earbuds.

This occurrence “does not necessarily indicate an issue with the iPod, iPhone, or earbuds,” according to the cautionary post, and could occur with any brand of earbuds.

To alleviate static build-up on your Apple portable media device, they suggest:

  • Avoid use in dry or windy environments.
  • If you have dry skin, try anti-static hand lotion.
  • Try wearing different clothes “with natural fibers. Synthetic fibers are more likely to hold a static charge.”
  • Avoid frequently “removing your device from your pockets…. Rubbing the device on certain materials can cause a static build up.”

Here is a bigger list of the dangers of new media that lurk at every turn.

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3 Responses to “Shocking News: iPod Earbuds May Zap Your Ears”

  1. Erin says:

    This happens to me every time I go running during the winter and take my phone out of my pocket before I take out my earbuds. On a pain scale of 1-10, it’s probably a 3 or 4, but it’s surprising and unwelcome, and I almost always give a little yelp when it happens, which seems to delight the people who happen to be around.

  2. The problem isn’t just with iPod earbuds. I have Sony earbuds and an alternate listening device, and have the same problem. It is a winter problem. I get shocked primarily when I’m wearing a synthetic jacket and carrying the device in my pocket. I don’t yelp, but I’d agree, it’s probably a 3 or 4 on the pain scale.

  3. Chris says:

    Ok I have a story. First of all they were regular headphones not apple. Ok so int school the science physics teacher has this big static electricity ball that we put our hand on. It zaps until you put your hand flat on it to let the electricity flow and zap who you touch. So whe I did it, rhe headphone cord happened to touch the ball. Lol! Yeah I jumped and was like WTF cause it shocked my ears pretty hard. But it was a good time and I’ll probably do it again because I am a dumbass. 😀 imagine if I actually used apple headphones 0_0

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