During Christmas week, a 16-year-old teenager in Malaysia was found dead following being electrocuted by his earphones which were connected to his phone. Mohd Aidi Azzhar Zahrin was found by his mother whilst blood was pouring from his ears according to the New Straits Times.
Following a medical examination, it was confirmed that there were no external signs of bruising. The autopsy later confirmed that the cause of death was electrocution which was as a result of the earphones that were in his left ear. It was found that his phone was charging whilst he was listening to his earphones. His brother also told Seven West Media that he had also felt a small electric shock when he touched the charging cable which may have indicated that it was faulty.
Although the make and brand of the earphones and the charging cable have not yet been reported, it is thought that this is the fourth time that someone was killed as a result of an electric shock sent by earphones. At the start of this year in February, a 17-year-old Brazilian was also found dead in her home in Riacho Frio after suffering from a large electric surge whulst she was listening to her headphones to the point that they had melted in her ears as reported by NewsCorp.
“The girl’s grandmother told the doctor that they found her granddaughter unconscious, lying on the floor and with headphones in her ears,” an employee at the hospital in Brazil informed G1. “They said they believe that the young woman had an electric shock because the cell phone was charging, and the phone was melted.”
Another incident was reported in the small village of Kanathur in India where a 46-year-old woman was electrocuted whilst listening to music through her headphones as she was asleep in May. According to The Times of India, the investigation confirmed that there was an issue with the short circuit which had led to the incident.
In another Indian village named Pandyo a month later, a young 22-year-old man was found dead after suffering from an electric shock after the electricity in his home came back after suffering from a power cut for a while.
It has been thought that this issue is not found in certain countries but is more widespread than we think. In North Gosford, Australia in the year 2015, a 28-year-old woman was found dead after being electrocuted by a USB cable. Although in this case it was reported that the charger was faulty according to ABC.
“We know absolutely that the charger itself failed, and that it arced between the 240-volt input and the five-volt output. So that's definitive,” said Lynelle Collins of NSW Fair Trading. “We've got photos, we've got proof that's been dismantled, so we know that the charger failed.”
Certain USB were found to not be compliant with Australian standards and the public were warned via the Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe about their dangers.
“These devices pose a serious risk of electrocution or fire,” he said at the time placing emphasis that the Department of Fair Trading had issued a warning against the usage of such devices.