The objective of this letter is to give an estimation of the impact of an electrostatic discharge (ESD) stress on the density of states (DOS) within the energy gap of hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) thin-film transistors. ESD stresses were applied by means of a transmission line model tester. The DOS in the a-Si:H was determined by Suzuki's algorithm using field-effect conductance measurements. A comparison of stressed and unstressed devices shows that there is a threshold ESD stress voltage, below which there is no damage. Above the threshold stress level, first an increase of the deep gap states is found and when stress is increased further, also in the tail states.