Experts warn against wearing iPods during electrical storms

“Listen to an iPod during a storm and you may get more than electrifying tunes,” Linda A. Johnson reports for The Associated Press.

“A Canadian jogger suffered wishbone-shaped chest and neck burns, ruptured eardrums and a broken jaw when lightning traveled through his music player’s wires,” Johnson reports. “Last summer, a Colorado teen ended up with similar injuries when lightning struck nearby as he was listening to his iPod while mowing the lawn.”

Johnson reports, “Emergency physicians report treating other patients with burns from freak accidents while using personal electronic devices… Contrary to some urban legends and media reports, electronic devices don’t attract lightning the way a tall tree or a lightning rod does.”

“When lightning jumps from a nearby object to a person, it often flashes over the skin. But metal in electronic devices — or metal jewelry or coins in a pocket — can cause contact burns and exacerbate the damage,” Johnson reports.

Johnson reports, “A spokeswoman for Apple Inc., the maker of iPods, declined to comment. Packaging for iPods and some other music players do include warnings against using them in the rain.”

Full article here.

Helen Branswell reports for The Canadian Press, “Wearing the device that is said to put ‘1,000 songs in your pocket’ during a thunderstorm may have sent millions of volts surging through the head of an unlucky Vancouver jogger.”

“His eardrums were ruptured, his jaw fractured and he suffered first- and second-degree burns from his chest – where the device was strapped – up into his ear channels, along the trail of the iPod’s trademark white earphones. He also had burns down his left leg and on the foot, where the electricity exited his body, blowing his sneaker to smithereens in the process,” Branswell reports.

“‘Using things like this, a mobile phone or an iPod, there isn’t actually an increased risk (of incurring a lightning injury),’ Dr. Eric Heffernan, a radiologist at Vancouver General Hospital, said from Vancouver. ‘But we just suggest that if you are unlucky enough to be hit by lightning while listening to anything with earphones you may be more likely to do yourself some damage.'”

“As for the offending IPod, well, it was ‘damaged beyond repair. Absolutely burned to a crisp,’ Heffernan said,” Branswell reports. “The man has bought another, the doctor reported. But as the old adage goes, once burned, twice shy. He no longer wears an IPod when he goes out for a jog.”

Full article here.

The New England Journal of Medicine’s report “Thunderstorms and iPods – Not a Good iDea” is here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “klapka,” “Shawn,” and “Pierre” for the heads up.]



  1. So, you’re kinda screwed anyway if a lightning bolt gets near enough to you to damage your iPod.

    Personally, I warn against listening to “experts” on your iPod during electrical storms.

  2. rule of thumb ,dont be outside during a is just common sense and has nothing to do with the ipod can happen with any device,it just makes it bigger news if you mention
    an ipod

  3. God, I hate these stupid non-articles.

    48,000,000 iPods out there and we hear about 1 maybe 5 lightning hits. 1/48,000,000?

    Lightning odds in the US are 1/400,000, possibly 1/700,000. (crappy research on my part suggests)


    I could spin it so that it’s SAFER to wear an iPod with those numbers. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” /> (Not really but no one does any research or cares about facts these days)

  4. “In further news, a man in Montana singed his peripherals while urinating on an electric fence. Experts are now advising us that the male peripherals may cause groin burns.” – True Story*

    *Well, maybe…..

    MDN Word: Knew, as in ‘Who knew!?”

  5. And for sure, NEVER wear steel tipped safety shoes or for that matter metal hinged eyeglasses or even metal filled tooth cavities or for that matter even metal belt buckles and I’ll not even get into ear-rings, finger-rings, or toe-rings, or even belly-rings, nose-rings, lip-rings, nipple-rings, ….and such.

  6. If I don’t look when crossing the street and get run over, can I sue the auto maker of the car that struck me for making a device that doesn’t explicity say that “running over a pedestrian with the vehicle may result in death”?

    Or when I buy gasoline, should gas stations have a sign up that says “pouring gasoline over your body and lighting it on fire may result in serious injury or death”?

    Or should doctor’s offices have signs up that say “excessive masturbation may lead to hairy palms, brain damage, and/or death”?

  7. I see stupid people.

    Let’s see… Don’t wear metal objects on your person so if you get STRUCK BY LIGHTNING (and live to tell about it) the damage won’t be as severe. That’s like saying you should wear leather instead of denim clothing while playing on the freeway so if you get struck by a car (and live to tell about it), you will have less severe road rash.

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