Can I Get Electrocuted By Earphones Or Headphones? – Answered

Can I Get Electrocuted By Earphones?

Earphone or headphones are electronic devices which have electronic circuits and chips inside of them, hence they function based on voltage and current (electricity in other words) to produce the sound that we hear from our media players.

So, as a logical short answer, Yes, you could get electrocuted by your earphones, but this has very rare conditions and situations to occur, however, as a more practical answer I could say No, it’s not that caution we should think of while wearing our headphones.

To further understand and realize the exact answer, I could say that you need to read this article below because I am breaking down for you the whole picture of how and why you might or might not get zapped by electricity using your earbuds or headphones in general.

What Cases I Could Get Electrocuted By Earphones?

Basically, there are two types of electrical shocks you may get out of your earbuds:

Type 1 – Static Electrical Discharge.

During winter time because of the dry weather, our bodies are getting charged while we are walking while wearing a couple of shoes with a rubber base, and because of the friction between the rubber base and the ground, our bodies start to getting charged with a static electricity charge, this charge could be discharged if we touch another person’s skin, or touching a metal door or so.

This could be happening as well between you and your earbuds since some types of earbuds have a metal grid or body, so this static charge will be discharged from your ears to your earbuds, and while this feeling is unpleasant but it is totally safe and not dangerous to you.

Type 2 – AC Power Discharge.

This type of electricity charge is caused by the main AC power of your home, there are three causes or let us say cases you could get electricity zapping by your headphones, and those cases related only to wired headphones or earbuds not wireless because electricity doesn’t transfer via Bluetooth or wifi medium but only via cables.

NOTE: Mostly, the below cases should all be gathered at once in order to make the electricity shock possible.

[Case 1]: Type of headphone or earbud body

Normally, headphones or earbuds are made of plastic and sometimes with rubbers, but certain ones having metal casings, so having that said, if the internal electrical board and/or connectors are somehow touching the metal body from inside, this case, there will be an electrical circuit connected to your skin.

metal casings earbuds electrocute

Even with the metal casings ones, although the cords are covered with a plastic shield, still electrical fields can reach out to your body if a connection with an AC source occurs, so case 1 is all about if you are using metal casing earbuds.

[Case 2]: Where the headphone is connected to?

This is one of the main factors why would you get electrocuted by your headphone, this should be a media player which is functioning by an AC power source such as a power socket in a wall face plate.

NOTE: The possibility became extremely higher when your media device which is connected to the wall power socket has no Ground connector (in other words it is using a 2 pin power jack instead of 3).

Electricity is based on three factors to run an electrical circuit which are Voltage, Current, and Impedance; but in order to make the circuit function properly, it requires having a connection to the Ground, our bodies are a very good ground source for electricity sources because it contains water thus they are working as direct connector (conductor) to the ground.

2-pin and 3-pin ac power sockets

So, having your electrical media device connected to a 2 pin power jack wall socket is lack of electrical voltage discharge, thus, once your hand or any portion of your body touch any metal part of the device, your body will work as an electrical discharge ground to it, in another word, you will get an electricity zapping.

NOTE: Devices that use AC power such as TV, old fashion cassette players, DVD players, audio cd system player, old fashion radio, PC or laptop that is connected to the power socket … etc.

ac powered media device

And by the way, this is applicable to any other electrical devices that require an AC power source to function such as but not limited to a cooker, hair drier, Air Conditioner, Binder ..etc if those devices have a 2 pin power connector then you could face some electrical shocks by touching them in their metal bodies.

[Case 3]: Are you wet? (and/or) on bare feet while using your earbuds or headphone?

This will make your situation even worse in case the two previous cases occur, water is very conductive medium for electricity so if you are wet and touch an electrical device which is powered by the wall power socket, chances to have a huge electricity shock is extremely high which could be fatal, cause as I mentioned above your body will discharge all wall AC power voltage to the ground, thus, working as a conductor.

What type of headphones that could electrocute me?

Basically, using normal headphones which is available in the market nowadays are very safe, even the very cheap basic ones because mostly they are made out of plastic which is non-conductive materials, even earbuds are all made of plastic and/or rubbers or silicons which are all safe and non-conductive materials that are very safe to use.

Also, remember that it is not only about the type of headphones, but how and where to use it as I stated above, for example, using wireless or Bluetooth earbuds would never have any possibility to electrocute you no matter what materials they are made from.

Does An Electrical Shock of an earphone fatal?

Yes, if the above three cases combined and occurred together because you are dealing with an AC power of 110 V or 220 V, AC power (which is the main wall power socket) is totally different than the DC power (comes from any type of battery).

NOTE: Electrical hazards cause more than 300 deaths and 4,000 injuries each year among the U.S.

AC power stands for Asyncrounus Current while DC power stands for Direct Power, the Direct Power source such as batteries has no harm at all to humans, but it could damage an electronic device or electronic circuit boards of a device in case of a short circuit occur, however, for the AC power, it is so dangerous that someone touches its poles as well as electrical devices.

How To Prevent Getting Electrocuted By Earphones & Headphones?

To prevent having an electrical shock using your earbuds or headphones you may consider the below:

  1. For electrical static discharges, simply before you wear your earbuds, try touching any metal item in the street or house that is fixed on a wall or the ground, like a metal door or window frame …etc so if there is any static charge in your body it will be discharged once via your hand to that metal item, thus you will be free of static charge at that moment.
  2. For AC power discharges, use wireless / Bluetooth headphones or earbuds instead of wired ones, this way you will cut all possibilities to get electrocuted, but you should also note the cons of using wireless/ Bluetooth headphones.
  3. Use your headphone with devices that don’t work directly with AC power sources such as mobile phones, portable pods, tablets, mp3 players .. etc that use normal or rechargeable batteries to work, hence those devices even if they got wet you won’t face any electrical zappings.
  4. In case you want to use your headphone with an AC power source media device, be sure that your media device supports 3 pin power cable connector.
  5. Use only modern headphones with a plastic body.
  6. Also, be sure not to be bare feet while using a wall sourced media device, especially if you are walking or sitting on the floor directly.
  7. Do not be wet while using a headphone or device that is connected to the AC power outlet, remember, water is a perfect conduction medium if you just took a shower and your hair is still wet then better to not use that headphone that connected to the AC powered media device.
  8. If you were listening to music from an AC powered media device, do not sleep while wearing your headphones.

Conclusion

Remember, the main reason for getting electrocuted is because of a device that uses direct AC power, however, if you are using a portable device with batteries then you are good to go and no need to think about electrical shocks what so ever even if you are using metal casings headphones, and to be surer, use wireless/ Bluetooth headphones instead of wired ones.

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Firas Sameer

This is me Firas Sameer the one behind “How To Fix Headphones” wearing my Beats headphone, I like listening to music a lot but since I had some issues with my headphone jack and I had to replace it my self, I decided to create this website and help you guys with headphone hacks all the way I am learning new ones and other stuff which helps you fix your own.

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