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MP3 player headphones might interfere with cardiac equipment

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 10 Nov 2008 1:21 User comments (2)

MP3 player headphones might interfere with cardiac equipment U.S. Researchers informed an American Heart Association meeting in New Orleans about the possible interference that MP3 player headphones might post to cardiac equipment. Pacemakers and implantable defibrillators' normal operation can be changed when in close proximity to headphones used with MP3 player equipment. Previously it has been found that MP3 players themselves don't interfere with cardiac equipment.
The reason the headphones have been found to cause disturbance with the equipment is the strong little magnets inside. When placed within 1.2 inches of the cardiac equipment, it was found to cause interference in about a quarter of tested patents. Fourteen out of sixty experienced problems when tested, with interference being twice as likely with defibrillators than pacemakers.

A pacemaker changes the speed of cardiac rhythm using electric impulses. The headphones in close proximity however could make it deliver a signal no matter what the heart rate is, possibly leading to palpitations or arrhythmia. An implantable cardioverter defibrillator signals the heart to normalize a rhythm whenever it gets fast or slow. The magnetic disturbance could make it ignore an abnormal heart rhythm.

"The main message here is: it's fine for patients to use their headphones normally, meaning they can listen to music and keep the headphones in their ears. But what they should not do is put the headphones near their device," Dr. William Maisel, who led the research, said. So in other words, keep the headphones away from your shirt or coat pocket, don't let them hang over your chest when not in use and don't let anyone else listening to an MP3 player lie against your chest - if you have the heart equipment that is.

It wasn't all doom and gloom though; it was also revealed at the meeting that devices using Bluetooth wireless technology were found not to interfere at all with cardiac equipment.

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2 user comments

110.11.2008 3:06

WOW!!! Who ever thought that one electrical device would ever interfere with another!!! christ.

220.11.2008 22:56

Originally posted by HolySheet:
WOW!!! Who ever thought that one electrical device would ever interfere with another!!! christ.
It is obvious that heart machines are mostly affected by visitors gadgets, but first time that MP3 have been linked. But Dela, does this mean ALL common MP3 players cause this, such as all Apple's, Creative's, Sony's, etc..

In the UK, they're going to allow people to use mobile phones in hospitals as they found they are safe if your receiving a call. But after reading this, they seriously need to reconsider as most play MP3's anyway.

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