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Programmable Shunts & Headphones: Are they safe together ?

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Programmable Shunts & Headphones: Are they safe together ? Programmable shunts have a valuable role in the treatment of patients with hydrocephalus, but because a magnet is used to change valve settings, interactions with external magnets may reprogram these shunts. Previous studies have demonstrated the ability of magnetic toys and iPads to erroneously reprogram shunts.

Headphones are even more ubiquitous, and they contain an electromagnet for sound projection that sits on the head very close to the shunt valve. This study is the first to look at the magnetic field emissions of headphones and their effect on reprogrammable shunt valves to ascertain whether headphones are safe for patients with these shunts to wear.