I have heard many people say that speaking on cell phone while it is lightning may damage the ears.

A week before my room mate was speaking on the phone during lightning, and suddenly threw the phone away and said he experienced "a shock."

Cans speaking on phone during a lightning storm damage the ears?

  • 1
    checking out cracked.com facts, eh? :)
    – user288
    Oct 24, 2011 at 15:09
  • 1
    Oh man! I was just about the mention the Cracked article! cracked.com/… Oct 24, 2011 at 15:28
  • Anecdotally, my grandmother received an electric shock when talking on the POTS phone during a lightening storm. She survived, but couldn't feel temperature in her hands after that. It's not a mobile phone, or ear damage, but it is a strange, interesting and related fact. :) Oct 24, 2011 at 18:17
  • wired phones are a major issue, and you often find the cause of destruction of computers during thunderstorms is through the modems. Simply put: electricity likes wires. I haven't heard of it happening with a wireless phone, though.
    – Rory Alsop
    Oct 25, 2011 at 11:06
  • my personal anecdote: lightning once struck outside my window and my answering machine hummed and squealed and never worked again. Wired phones are a definite danger.
    – horatio
    Oct 26, 2011 at 14:26

1 Answer 1


Lightning strikes can cause brief but strong voltage differentials, which will travel through wires and can destroy electric equipment, start fires, or even kill people in close contact with electrical equipment.

Snopes cites a number of examples of the latter: Lightning Telephone Deaths

This only applies to corded phones and other equipment connected by wire of course.

Although, standing outside in a thunderstorm while talking on a cellphone (or even just carrying one) can be bad for your health too. Like eletrical wiring, electronic devices too can act as "hot spots" for the sudden surge of electricity caused by lightning strikes. Snopes again: iFried

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