Frequently Asked Questions

Headphone Shock: 5 Tips
Last Updated 4 years ago

Have you ever received a small shock from your earbuds on a windy winter day or while jogging on a treadmill? And after examining the headphones for exposed wiring, nothing explains why you received a shock?

Remain calm – your headphones are not trying to zap 3rd grade math from your memory. While it is a rare occurrence, it is simply static electricity building up in your headphones.

The first time it happens it can be a little jarring, but we assure you no serious harm will come of it.

A headphone shock can occur when the headphone cord rubs against your clothing creating a small charge within the headphone. After enough time that charge can build up and possibly deliver a small shock in your ear.


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Your headphone cord rubbing against nylon workout clothing can lead to a small shock within your headphone.



There are also environmental factors that play into the static shock potential of headphones. If you’re in a dry, arid, windy or low-humidity environment, the chances of building a charge in your headphones are higher than normal.

There are a few things you can do to help prevent headphone shock:

  1. When jogging, touch a piece of metal to ground yourself. Most treadmills have a metal sensor to determine your heart rate. Tap that piece of metal when jogging to prevent your headphone from potentially shocking you. You can also purchase an antistatic wrist strap to attach to metal and constantly ground yourself while jogging.
  2. Try wearing natural fiber clothing. Synthetic clothing is more likely to build a static headphone shock quicker within your headphone
  3. During dry seasons, use a humidifier to keep the room’s humidity at normal levels.
  4. If running outside in the wind, or plan to have a fan facing you during a workout, keep your media player inside your pocket or in an armband to minimize potential charging by the wind.
  5. You also can apply an antistatic spray to your clothes, furniture and workout gear to minimize potential headphone shock.


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Touching a piece of metal can ground you and prevent a headphone shock.


Other good resources:

Apple FAQ



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