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According To Doctors, Headphones Can Mess With Pacemakers & Defibrillators

By Can Tran     Nov 9, 2008 in Health
It has been revealed that wearing headphones could affect heart devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators if they are held very close to each other.
According to doctors, if you have a pacemaker or an implanted defibrillator, you should not be wearing headphones in your shirt pocket or around your neck. For example, if you are listening to music on your Apple iPod, Microsoft Zune, or any other device with a headset, you should not wear them around your neck or put them in your shirt pocket.
Doctors have recommended, the headphones can and will interfere with pacemakers and implanted defibrillators.
Headphones contain magnets, and some of these magnets are powerful,” said Dr. William Maisel, who works at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts.
However, he said that this is nothing that people should overreact to. Maisel adds that to be on the safe side, keep the headphones away from the medical devices you have on. If someone else is doing that, tell that person not to.
To be on the safe side, if you are listening to an iPod, keep the headphones away from your chest if you are wearing a pacemaker or defibrillator.
So far, the effect may be random. Doctors tested it out. 27 patients with pacemakers and 33 patients with defibrillators were part of the study. So far, interference was present in 4 out of the 27 pacemakers. One pacemaker went on reset as a result.
Interference was detected in 10 out of 33 defibrillators.
However, one might not feel a thing or may have a heart palpitation. But, there is the slim chance that it can affect the defibrillator in which a person needs a lifesaving shock but does not receive it. While this is a slim chance, it is one that carries a very big risk.
But, this was only tested with the small headphones. The larger headphones were not tested. While the risks are minimal, it is best to keep headphones (no matter the size) from your chest area if you have either a pacemaker or a defibrillator.
Since Christmas is almost around the corner, if you plan on buying something like an iPod, Zune, PSP, or Nintendo DS for that loved one that does have a pacemaker or defibrillator, make sure you inform the person of the health risks.
Overall, the risks can be avoided by keeping the headphones when not in use away from your chest.
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