iPods and other electronic devices have caused people injury when lightning strikes nearby. A Canadian man who was jogging incurred burns on his neck and chest, ruptured his eardrums and broke his jaw when the lightning traveled through his music player. Another instance happened last summer, when a teen has similar injuries after lightning struck nearby and he was listening to his iPod.
Other accidents of this sort have occurred from personal electronic devices such as beepers, Walkman players, and laptops during a storm. Thirteen cases of injury have been tracked down from people talking on cell phones.
These electronic devices do not attract lightning, but once the lightning hits and the contacts metal, the metal conducts electricity. When the lightning jumps to an object to a person, the electricity can cause burns, hearing loss, and other injuries.
Lightning can strike even if it is not raining and a storm is miles away. Some victims, like Jason Bunch, were injured when there was no storm in sight. Safety experts say that if you hear thunder, go inside immediately.
Eardrum ruptures are considered the most common ear injury in lightning-strike victims, occurring in 5 percent to 50 percent of patients, according to various estimates — whether or not an electronic device is involved. A broken jaw is rare, doctors say.
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