As someone that is constantly concerned about the amount of radiation my BlackBerry emits, you might call me the paranoid sort. So when I heard about this recent report by the FDA saying that headphones — yes, even the kind all you multimedia-enabled BlackBerry users have — can interfere with heart devices like pacemakers if held too close, I had to write about it:
“Headphones contain magnets, and some of these magnets are powerful,” said the study’s leader, Dr. William Maisel, a cardiologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and a heart device consultant to the federal Food and Drug Administration.
When headphones were about an inch from the device, interference was detected nearly one-fourth of the time — in four of the 27 pacemaker patients and 10 of the 33 with defibrillators. A pacemaker reset itself in one patient.
Dr. Maisel said that the headphones could have an effect even when unplugged. Don’t be too concerned, however: the report also said that as long as you keep the headphones away from your chest, you should be fine.