Can Your iPod Kill You?

According to the Reuters story “MP3 Player Headphones May Hinder Pacemakers” your iPod won’t kill you, but the headphones might. Why? The strong magnets in the headphones can, when held on your chest near your pacemaker or implantable defibrillator, interfere with your life-saving heart machine.

The story isn’t clear about the differences between headphones and earplugs. While the title says “headphones” the accompanying photo shows the ubiquitous white iPod earbuds. Scientists tested clip-on and earbud types of headphones, says the story, so I’m guessing the writer isn’t being careful enough, or didn’t have the space, to distinguish between the results for headphones versus earbuds.

I’m waiting to hear how Apple will spin this. My guess is that they’ll announce anyone with a pacemakers or implantable defibrillator should keep their earbuds in their ears, listening to their iPod, at all times. When you take your earbuds out and lay them down on your chest, that’s when you can be in trouble. As long as the music in your ears keeps beating, your heart will keep beating.

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