We have 6 identical table lamps in our home that are touch lamps. We have used them for three years. One evening recently my husband touched the lamp on his bedside table and there was a small static electricity shock. Afterwards the lamp would not turn on and off by touching it any more. Occasionally if we really beat on the side of the lamp it might turn on the lowest setting, so it's not completely dead. But it won't turn on easily or predictably. We moved that lamp to my side of the bed (since I seem to occasionally be able to get it to come on) and moved my "good" lamp to his side. Within a week, the same thing happened to him again. And the second lamp doesn't come on at all now. So.....I can purchase a new set of lamps just like the old ones, but how do we keep this from happening again? We have a phone charger plugged into the other half of the same outlet, and it seems to work fine, so I don't think the outlet is the problem. Also, just as another piece of information, my husband wears a fitbit-type bracelet. Could this be causing any problems? We are not in a dry climate and have not experienced any other static electricity shocks in our home at this time.
Electronic devices are subject to damage by electrostatic discharge (ESD). Walking across a carpeted floor can create a potential of 25,000 volts. To estimate the voltage, note how far a spark jumps from a finger to a grounded object, e.g. a wall-switch screw): a rough guide is ~1,000 V/mm or ~25,000 V/inch.
That said, reputable manufacturers include ESD protection to thousands of volts and high pulse currents in consumer electronics. Though you can protect the device by reducing nearby ESD (using antistatic spray on carpets, room humidifiers, etc.), a well-made capacitance switch should not fail from a small spark. You might try a different brand of touch-control lamp. [The ones I use have lasted through about five years of cold, dry winters with many finger-to-lamp sparks. ouch]