You Heard? Headphones, Pacemakers Don't Jibe

Headsets may interfere with heart devices
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2008 3:25 PM CST
Nearly 2 million people worldwide have pacemakers, defibrillators or other devices to help their hearts beat faster, slower or more regularly.   (Shutter Stock)
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(Newser) – Headphones used with digital music players may interfere with pacemakers and internal defibrillators, scientists discovered in research contradicting reports from the US government. “Exposure of a defibrillator to the headphones can temporarily deactivate the defibrillator,” the lead researcher said. Draping the headphones over the chest caused hindrance in 15% of pacemaker patients and 30% of defibrillator patients, the Daily Telegraph reports.

But earlier this year, the FDA assured the public that the headphones would not meddle with implanted heart devices like pacemakers that stabilize heartbeat rate or defibrillators, which correct abnormal heart rhythms. Researchers urge patients to keep headphones at least 3 centimeters from their implanted devices and not to store headphones in a breast pocket or around their necks.