Ipod interference

Hi pacer friends,
Just had to share this one...
I recently purchased an ipod and I had it in my pocket(away from the pacemaker). Had the earbuds in. It must have bumped against something as I moved about because it shut itself off. I reached in and pressed the on button. Felt a jolt to my system like I never experienced before. It was really frighteneing. All I remember was hoping I could call 911 before I collapsed. I quickly tossed the ipod on the desk and moved away.
Had chest pain and felt out of sorts for awhile, but my heart rate returned to normal quite quickly.
I'm thinking maybe there was a power surge when I turned it on, and the wires to the earbuds were over the pacemaker, even though the ipod itself was not. If anyone else is using an ipod, you might want to be careful when turning it on, to have it completely away from your body. I'm not an expert on this,so I don't really know exactly what happened, but just wanted to put it out there in case anyone else is using one.
Mary Anne



by jimmy412 - 2009-10-25 05:10:28

I have seen many times that they say not to put the earbud wires over your pacemaker. I guess this is why they tell you not to do it. I always wear mine around my neck and drooping down my right side while I walk in the evenings. I have not had any problems. I always want to put my cellphone in my right upper pocket also, but have been quick to catch myself after I have had the pacemaker.

iPods and pacemakers

by golden_snitch - 2009-10-26 03:10:42


Two years ago a study conducted by a 17 years-old highschool student showed that there was interference between iPods and pacemakers. However, according to a FDA study done after the student had presented his results, there is no reason to worry.

FDA: iPod is Pacemaker Safe

Thursday, January 31st, 2008 at 3:00 PM - by Jeff Gamet

Following concerns that Apple’s iPod posed a health threat to pacemaker users, the Food and Drug Administration conducted its own study into the safety of the portable media player. The verdict: The iPod poses no threat to pacemaker patients, according to ScienceDaily.

The study led by FDA researcher Howard Bassen measured the magnetic fields generated by a fourth generation iPod, a video-capable iPod, an iPod nano, and an iPod shuffle along with the voltages each device delivered to cardiac pacemakers. The results indicated that there are no effects on pacemaker patients from the iPods.

In May 2007, a different report spawned from a high school student’s research stated that portable media players, including Apple’s iPod, caused pacemaker malfunctions in 50 percent of patients. Doctors involved in the earlier research found that an iPod held two inches from a patient’s chest resulted in pacemaker telemetry interference about 29 percent of the time.

Mr. Bassen’s study, however, appears to be more detailed and showed that at distances between five and ten millimeters from a pacemaker, an iPod output a peak magnetic field strength of 0.2 millionths of a Tesla -- far below the levels necessary to interfere with a pacemaker.

Mr. Bassen commented "Based on the observations of our in-vitro study we conclude that no interference effects can occur in pacemakers exposed to the iPods we tested."

You can google iPod + pacemaker and you'll get infos on both studies. I have been using an iPod for more than seven years now and never had any problems.

Best wishes

RE: Ipod ear buds - yes they can

by Tictoc - 2009-11-15 02:11:06

Sorry that link wasn't the high-lighted 2009, but the second post on the page [video].

RE: Ipod ear buds - yes they can

by Tictoc - 2009-11-15 02:11:47

Yes the latest information and testing have determined that approx 1 out of 4 people have experienced problems with iPod earbuds. This interference is possible whether the iPod is on or off. 10 gauss is enough to cause interference and the buds produce up to 200 gauss. Placing them directly over the PM or ICD can affect them. See the following:

Listen to the NPR report and also the high-lighted 2009 link (it's a Heart Rhythm report by Dr Maisel).

Headphone interference

by Mary Anne - 2009-11-15 10:11:51

Thanks for the studies and the links. What I experienced was definitely intense and I would never want anyone to have to go through that. After speaking to representatives from Apple, I was advised to return the item and definitely not use it.
It may be true like Mr. Bassen's FDA study, that ipods don't cause interference, but he didn't look far enough. According to a recent study by Dr. Massen, the headphones use very powerful magnets, 20 times the strength needed to interfere with a pacemaker. So it's not the ipods, but the headphones that are to blame.

ipod headphones

by Sylvia - 2010-01-16 02:01:45

My son gave me an ipod nano for Xmas, but now I'm nervous about the earbud magnetic fields, since I have a p-m. Does anyone have information about headphone models with lower fields? Thanks.

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