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Headphones bad for heart devices

SCIENCE BRIEFING

November 15, 2008|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Don't place headphones for portable MP3 music players in your front shirt pocket or drape them over your shoulder if you've got a pacemaker or defibrillators, says a Harvard scientist. The results can be shocking.

There was detectable interference for 15% of pacemaker patients and 30% of those with defibrillators when headphones, including those for Apple Inc.'s iPod and iPhone, were placed within an inch of the heart devices, according to a study reported Sunday at the American Heart Assn. meeting in New Orleans.

The effect is produced by magnets in the headphones and was observed even when the players were turned off.

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