Exploding Headphones!

First, we wrote about exploding phones. Then, it was e-cigarettes. Just earlier this week, it was hoverboards. And now, it looks like the latest worrisome object is something even more innocuous than a cell phone: headphones!

Headphones Explosion Incident!

The attention-raising incident occurred this week on a flight from Beijing, China, to Melbourne Australia. A woman put in a pair of headphones, like many of us do to block out unwanted noise on airplanes, and took a nap. However, she was awoken by a loud popping sound, and a burning sensation against her face and neck. Realizing that her headphones were the culprit, she quickly removed them and threw them to the floor. Quick-thinking flights attendants were able to douse the small sparks, but not before some of the plastic burned itself into the floor of the plane. The woman suffered blistering and burns on her face, neck, and arms, and the other passengers had to endure the smell of burnt plastic for the duration of the flight.

The what ifs of this situation are very unsettling. What if the sparks weren’t detected right away? Or what is the fire spread? What if my very own everyday device is a huge hazard?

Awareness and Prevention

On the plus side, these recent incidents have given more insight into how fires and explosions occur. In the cases of these headphones, the culprit was likely a lithium battery. Lithium batteries are part of most electronic devices, from headphones to laptops.  However, they can easily catch fire if they are overheated, or if the battery is punctured. When the battery catches on fire, the technical term is “thermal runaway.” Thermal runaways can occur through overcharging, damage, or faulty manufacturing or design. In the incident on the plane, it’s possible that the high cabin pressure punctured the batteries.

To prevent electronics explosions on plane, know about the potential issues before you even board the plane. Since a fire can easily go undetected if it begins in an overhead compartment, keep your batteries with you. It’s recommend that you keep them in a separate bag within your carry-on bags. If you’re unsure if you can even bring a type of battery or device on an airplane, consult the Federal Airplane Administration’s guidelines. Stay up to date on all recent recalls, and avoid bringing an object on a plane if you have any doubts about its safety. And if you have a Samsung Galaxy Note 7, leave it at home — they’re banned from all United States airlines! Headphones, however, are still okay to bring on airplanes . . .  at least for now.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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