A report in the New England Journal of Medicine has warned that wearing iPods during thunderstorms could put lives at risk.
The report covers the case of a 37 year-old man who was jogging during a storm while wearing his iPod.
When a nearby tree was struck by lightning some of the current grounded through the man and he was thrown eight feet by the blast.
"Because of the high resistance of skin, the lightning is often conducted over the outside of the body (an effect known as a flashover)," read the report.
"However, sweat and metallic objects in contact with the skin can disrupt the flashover, leading to the internal flow of current.
"Although the use of a device such as an iPod may not increase the chances of being struck by lightning, in this case the combination of sweat and metal earphones directed the current to, and through, the patient's head."
The man was rushed to hospital where doctors noticed that, as well as the usual skin burns consistent with a lightning strike, the man had burns along his neck and leading towards his ears.
The strike has blasted out his eardrums and damaged the bones in his inner ear. The latter type of injury is not typically found in lightning strike victims.
The journal pointed out that, while iPods and other media players can have serious effects on hearing, this is the first time that they have been revealed as a danger during lightning strikes.
The case is similar to one in the UK last year, in which a young girl suffered serious facial injuries after being struck by lightning while using her mobile phone.
Doctors warn of iPod lightning danger
By Iain Thomson on Jul 17, 2007 1:44PM