If you’ve ever had a fear of losing your Apple AirPods (or wondered how literally everyone else isn’t losing theirs), well, you're about to be even more terrified. Recently, a pair of AirPods ventured where few have gone before when Taiwanese naval recruiter Ben Hsu accidentally swallowed one of the earbuds in his sleep.
As Hsu rather cheerfully recounted to The Daily Mail, it all started normally enough, with him falling asleep one night with his AirPods in. Yet when he woke up, he discovered one of the earbuds was missing. After rifling through his room, he remembered Apple’s handy tracking feature, in which each AirPod has a homing device that can be triggered to emit a beeping sound if it gets lost. Hsu enabled the device, heard the beeping and looked for the AirPod under his blanket — before realizing "the sound was coming from my stomach.”
Thankfully, he wasn't in any pain, but he still went to the emergency room for an X-ray. Doctors told Hsu that the earbud was unlikely to cause him any harm; Dr. Chen Chieh-fan, who works in the emergency room where Hsu initially came in for treatment, explained to The Daily Mail that, “Because of the plastic shell around the AirPod, the risk of it causing him harm in a similar way to swallowing a regular lithium-ion battery is much lower.”
Still, Hsu was advised to take a laxative and... stay on the lookout for the earbud. If the AirPod didn’t show up, he'd need to come back in to have it surgically removed from his body. Luckily (?) for Hsu, the AirPod emerged unscathed after a “foul-smelling search”, as he told The Daily Mail, when he relieved himself in a railway station toilet the following day. After cleaning the earbud and letting it dry, he was amazed to find that it still worked. 'The battery was still at 41 percent!” Hsu told the outlet. "It was incredible."
The fact that Hsu was unharmed in the incident is great news, of course, and the next person who accidentally swallows an AirPod in the future (face it, you know it's going to happen) might be able to rest slightly easier. However, before you make it your next party trick, know that there have been reported incidents of AirPods overheating and melting their plastic casing when exposed to prolonged heat. In 2018, for instance, a man from Tampa, FL had an AirPod begin smoking and eventually explode while he was working out. Luckily, he removed it from his ear just in time. Apple couldn't be reached for comment when the story broke, but later said it was investigating the incident.
If that can happen during exercise, just imagine what could happen if an AirPod gets overheated in a human being's body. In the event than the device's battery became exposed in a person's digestive system, Dr. Chen Chieh-fan told The Daily Mail that it could cause a severe intestinal rupture. In other words, Hsu was lucky, but others who have similar accidents might not be.
So stay safe out there, everyone, and maybe don’t sleep with your AirPods in, OK?