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Getting Shocked from Your Headphones

by jimeeo11 / January 2, 2007 10:30 PM PST

Hi BOL'ers. I'm responding to a voice mail from the show on 1/2. I had the same problem before getting tiny shocks from my headphones, but they were plugged in to my PC at work. This didn't happen every time when I used them, but enough where I ended up getting a different pair. I've never had any problems since then.

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Faulty electrical installation
by SantiagoCrespo / January 2, 2007 10:35 PM PST

If your office's or home's electrical installation is shoddy, and you are somehow grounded, you might get electric shocks from any metal component you touch. Used to happen to me at home until i re-wired it, if you touched any exposed metal part of the computer while barefoot it would shock you pretty nasty.

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Can't stop the shocking!
by nillwoke / February 4, 2008 4:59 AM PST

I am shocked on a daily basis through my earphones on a daily basis. I noticed the problem started about 6 months ago. The head phones I had been using were old so I trashed after the problem continued randomly for a few months. Now I use my work out headphones and the same problem is happening, and I'm tempted to say it's happening more frequently! The work out headphones have exposed metal directly on my skin... I can at least now be sure the shock wasn't happening due to faulty headphones. Do you think it's my computer or surge protector? I know our electrical situation here has always been suspect because we get brown outs from using our personal heaters in the winter, but this electrical shock problem isn't happening to anyone else in the office. Any advice would be grateful! Thanks!


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I have felt it also
by kellenjb / January 2, 2007 11:17 PM PST

I have felt this before as well, it was more of a tingly feeling to me. No doubt that you have electricity going to the headphones to make the sound. You are also sticking the electricity very close to skin. My guess is we are basically getting little arcs coming from the headphones. My guess would be it either would happen on a very wet day or a very dry day.

As for me, I have some deep canal headphones now the moves the power away from your skin a bit.

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Simply Shocking
by csliva11 / January 3, 2007 12:05 PM PST

I'll be working at my desk with my head phones connected to my PC and everytime I stand up with my buds on I get a static sensation (best description I can come up with so bare with me) in my ears and every so often I'll get a shock.

So now before I get up, ear buds must come out to avoid unwanted shock therapy.

Serenity now!

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by abdmal / January 3, 2007 3:33 PM PST
In reply to: Simply Shocking

this **** is crazy.

I use the ipod headphones too. Never had this problem.

I think im just gonna get new headphones before I get shocked to death.

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I was shocked by my ipod - and now the thing has shorted out
by liquidchaz / February 5, 2007 2:40 PM PST
In reply to: crap

I have a 3rd generation ipod (one of the first 20gigs with click wheels) and I use the in-ear headphones. The headphones were bought last June, and the ipod almost 2 years ago. I had been getting a light static shock in the right ear for the last month or two... and honestly, the first couple of times I thought I was going crazy. Then, finally... I received a shock yesterday and the iPod suddenly died. This leaves me to believe that the static shock somehow shorted out my iPod.

This sounds like a serious defect to me. If I spend another $300 how do i know the cable running up against my fleece or wool jacket is not going to short it out again?

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YES! I Also Get Serious Static Shock in Ear w/ Video Ipod
by birdbuns / April 26, 2007 10:14 AM PDT

I also get static shock in the ear while wearing headphones connected to my Video Ipod 60 Gb. If I turn on the ipod while wearing the headphones, I ALWAYS get a small annoying shock in both ears. Similarly, while I'm running (either outside or on the treadmill) I always get a few similar shocks in the ear. This kind of bizarre electric static discharge has never happened to me before while wearing headphones connected to anything ie. computer, mp3 player, stereo etc. I normally wear a Belkin sports sleeve while using the ipod and have no idea whether this exercise armband is responsible for the static build-up. Still, the shock happens if I wear the Belkin thingie or not. I found this forum while searching Google for any explanation and had to add my two cents.

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blah blah
by da_bradler / April 26, 2007 10:16 PM PDT

I had the same problem, I had sony wrap around ear bud type head phones and used them with my older 20gig ipod, I would get like little electric shocks in ear ear every now and then, but I figured it was just the cold weather here since it gets mighty cold in manitoba.

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oh, it happens with any player and headphones if you build u
by TrevorK / March 21, 2008 8:48 AM PDT

if they are in ear headphones you'll get a zap if you build enough static up on your body, its just how it is. its not a defect of a player, its that you got wires leading up to your ears;)

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Headaches and dizzy spells after shocks
by breebree25 / November 21, 2008 12:49 AM PST

Is anyone else experiencing headaches and dizzy spells after shocks? Is it possible that this is a result of shocking? Can this effect your brain or anything??? May be a silly questions but hey I need to know!

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Re headaches
by barookonana / January 27, 2010 7:38 AM PST

Yes! I've had these like the past couple of days- I kept getting shocks from listening to my s***ty work pc through headphones. Might sue 'em!

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by kelsedilla / November 6, 2011 6:36 AM PST
In reply to: Re headaches

Why would you sue your work for that? Did you mean it as a joke? The reason the earphones are shocking you is because of static electricity build up. It's physics. That's like suing them for the gravity in the work environment causing you to fall down. I would like to suggest that instead you try wear different types of clothes that don't produce so much static (unless you have a specific uniform you have to wear for work). They even have anti-static room sprays and wipes. The dry air in the room is another contributing factor so you could request to have a humidifier in the room. Also, unless you are using the computer and headphones for a work related purpose I doubt you would have much of a case anyways.

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by Robar3008 / January 28, 2015 7:10 AM PST
In reply to: Re headaches

i got shocked on the monday and monday and tuesday night when i was in bed i rolled over and the dizzy spells i got was unreal , do you still have them or if not how long does it last

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I might know what is causing this.
by FoustDiablo / December 5, 2008 7:17 AM PST

if the shock occurs in the winter months it's most likely because you bundle up more and as a result of the extra layers accumulate more static electricity in your body, the earphones in your ears are a perfect place for this build-up to discharge, kind of like when you touch a doorknob. But these buildups can occur when your moving around a lot as well during the warmer months, dry air is ideal for static discharges, so turning in your chair in the office or your legs rubbing together on your evening run can also result in static charges. They hurt like hell, but at least it's not a defect of the more expensive device the headphones are attached to.

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Exercising, Static Electricity, Earphones
by globaluse / January 22, 2009 8:25 AM PST

This past two weeks, I was on the treadmill in a gym, which had an attached television. I was listening and watching the news via my IPod earphones and received several quick shocks to both my ears. I went to another machine and didn't have a problem. (I was NOT touching any metal) Today, I was on the eliptical with a set of XPS earphones and it happened again, so I moved over to another treadmill and it happened again.It was bad enough that I needed to remove them - but what is going on???? No one else had this problem either time.

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iPod Earbud shock
by GuyMcDouglas / February 28, 2011 3:51 PM PST

My ears got shocked really bad from my white ipod earbuds. The reason I think I got shocked was because ipods earbuds have a metal mesh screen, which can conduct electricity very easily. I bought a different player and headphones without metal on them. Haven't had another shocking experience since. Apple should really consider using non conductive materials for people to put in there ears. What a bunch of crap! Frying peoples heads! Awesome job Apple...

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Then what is the solution?
by coyr / September 19, 2011 7:22 AM PDT

How can we fix this issue, any advice? Someone have a solution to eliminate static in divices?.

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possible solution
by rtn3 / April 6, 2012 1:59 PM PDT

i think the static charge builds up on your body until it reaches a threshold voltage where it can arc from your ear to the wires in the earbuds (fairly short distance), which is when u get shocked. So if i am correct one solution would be to ground yourself periodically, discharging any static buildup before it can discharge through your ear. If you can find a metal part of your PC case, it should be grounded through the power cable, so if you touch it periodically i suspect this will prevent static buildup. If the case is too far away you could plug in a usb cable and put the other end by your mouse and touch the outer shielding part which should be connected to power supply ground.

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Yes, except...
by froasier / May 22, 2015 9:21 AM PDT
In reply to: possible solution

It's not the difference in charge between you and the ground that matters—it's the difference in charge between you and whatever the headphones are plugged into. So when using a computer, connecting yourself to the computer's ground (any exposed metal) should work regardless of whether the computer is actually grounded to the earth. When using a (mobile) device without exposed metal parts, you'd have to access its ground using a modified USB cable, with the ground wire (and ONLY the ground wire) exposed and touching your skin.

Another potential solution in either case (no puns intended) is to wear different clothes—specifically, whatever is holding your mobile device or rubs against your chair/shoes/carpet/floor at your computer. Natural fabrics tend to cause less static build-up.

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This thread is more than 3061 days old.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 22, 2015 9:28 AM PDT
In reply to: Yes, except...

Maybe the charge has drained by now?

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Shock from my iphone Headphones
by scottbraduk / May 10, 2012 11:32 PM PDT

I have been using the headphone for over a year now nothing walked in to the house and got a crackeling noise from them next thing bang in to my ears i tryed to pull them out but they were stuck in.
Any way i pulled them and and throw them on to the side.
I call apple they have taken them and the phone to apple california for investigation.
i went to the doctors as my hearing in the right ear was low the doctor has told me the inner ear is burned and the skin cracked this is because the ear had a shock.
I would advise any one who get a shock to call them right away 0844 209 0611 Telephone Support
This should not be doing this and could damage something like my ear.
Scott Manchester

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Ground loops
by mjd420nova / June 14, 2012 5:28 AM PDT

Usually, a ground loop is caused by a mis-wired outlet, switching neutral and HOT would cause a difference of 110 volts AC between two devices. Another cause would be a user or other person (large or small) who plugs in a grounded non-polarized plug for a device into a nearby outlet. The grounding doesn't have to be through the power cord but could come from another device that has a common connection to ground through coax or auxillary audio cables. DANGER, this potential can KILL.

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Static shocks
by Walker6906 / June 15, 2012 4:19 PM PDT

I get static shocks from headphones when I get sweaty behind the ears after a long session.

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me too
by touchscreen_cafe / August 9, 2012 7:55 AM PDT
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Same thing happened to me
by peterjon000 / August 14, 2012 1:46 PM PDT

Lol I think that this happens frequently unfortunately. Someone should invent something to prevent this from happening.

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by Viri2000 / March 31, 2015 1:31 PM PDT

Getting shocked on your headphones is extremely dangerous. What happens during a power surge then?

You need to investigate all the wiring in your house with an electrician - or atleast start with the problem area!

I found that faulty wall sockets usually caused shocking on my devices as well as faulty cord connections at the point of the device.

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by Nielamsyrhk / June 19, 2015 9:32 AM PDT

it happened to me just a few minutes ago and until now i still feel the pain caused by the shock, my ears hurts , headache, dizziness and my nape hurts the most. im at work and now i feel like im whacked. what to do? i cant focus at all.....

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by PranavBalaji / November 13, 2016 10:27 AM PST

I have started to get electric shocks from 1 week or so, whenever I plug any connector to my Computer. For e.g.:
1.) When I plugged in my 'tukzer' Micros USB cable with an aluminium connector, which doesn't give any shocks on AC supply.

2.) When I plugged in my headphone and by mistake touched the metal connector, while plugging it in, which doesn't happen otherwise.

3.) When I touched the metal portion of my Computer's CD reader's CD fixing plate, which had never happened in past.

I own a HP All-in-one. I think there is some kind'a leakage or circuit issues, or some grounding wire is loose or removed. If you can help, then please help me. I will contact HP after 1-2 weeks, as I'm going out for the period....

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