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A hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia, treated a jogger for lightning strike injuries to the chest and head. Physicians treating the man reported that his iPod, combined with sweat, acted as a conduit for the lightning. Injuries included second-degree burns to his chest and leg, and burns on his neck. There were significant burns to his external auditory meatus, which corresponded to the positions of the earphones. In addition, there were bilateral tympanic membrane ruptures and a mandibular fracture.

 

Although MP3 players and other ear devices don't attract lightning, in the event of a strike the devices may provide a conduit for the electrical current directly to the head. Consequently, people should be discouraged from using MP3 players, cell phones, or other ear devices during a thunderstorm.

 

Source

 

Heffernan EJ, et al. Thunderstorms and iPods-Not a good idea. The New England Journal of Medicine. 357(2):198-199, July 12, 2007.