Earbud shocker: Woman says she got zapped when she plugged in

Posted at 3:17 PM, Mar 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-21 15:17:00-04

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Colleen Zaremski of Pittsburgh, Pa. posted on Facebook about the shock she says she got from a set of low cost earbuds she bought at Walmart.

"It was very scary," said Zaremski, "I was folding laundry - it's a boring task - so, I put my earbuds in and was listening to an audio book, and in mid-fold I could hear a zapping, and I could feel the shock in my ears and in my mouth."

Zaremski says she was left with a metallic taste in her mouth, and that wasn't all.

"I ripped the earbuds out as fast as I could, but my lips were swollen," added Zaremski.

This mother of five was okay, but shaken up.

"It took about five to ten minutes before my lips went down to normal, but my ears immediately - as soon as I pulled the ear buds out - the pain stopped," described Zaremski.

Zaremski says she thought that the zap she got may have something to do with the fact that the earbuds were cheap.

Dr. Jay Shah, an ear, nose and throat doctor for University Hospitals says that what happened probably had more to do with how the earbuds were made than how expensive they were.

"I don't see this every day, but it can make a lot of sense especially with the metal lining, dry air, the build up of static electricity," said Shah.

Shah says you should look for ear buds that have very little exposed metal.

"Any ear buds that have more metal exposed can lead to the shock that we talked about or the irritation of your skin. If you could go with the cup or outer ear buds, I would recommend that," said Shah.

Earbuds should also be stored in a cool, less dry place.

Colleen says she did not take the earbuds back to the store or file a complaint - she just threw them out.

"I will definitely wear earbuds again - it's the only way I can get my chores done around the house, but I will buy better ones," said Zaremski.

A media representative for Walmart said the store is currently looking into what happened.

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