Watch Out! Your MP-3 Player Could Hurt Your Heart

Headphones in the wrong place could mean trouble

New research shows listening to your favorite music could be hazardous to your health.

Scientists from Beth Israel Medical Center in Boston tested different headphones and found they interfered with pacemakers and implantable defibrillators (ICDs).

Researchers found that the interference happened when the headphones were placed within an inch of the devices.

Headphones contain a metallic substance and that's what causes the devices to fail. Scientists say the metal stops the devices from searching for an abnormal heartbeat.

Researchers tested eight different models of MP3 player headphones (including both the clip-on and ear bud variety) with iPods on 60 defibrillator and pacemaker patients.

"We did not observe any interactions when the headphones were at least 3 cm, or about 1.2 inches, from the skin's surface," said William H. Maisel, M.D., M.P.H., senior author of the study and director of the Medical Device Safety Institute at Beth Israel Medical Center in Boston, Mass.

Researchers say patients should not focus on the brands tested, but instead, make sure headphones are not kept in pockets or are hung around the neck.

The research was presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2008.

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