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EMF and Brain Damage?

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 

So I was reading the Ultrasone article in Wikipedia and it states that:

According to Ultrasone, their headphones reduce magnetic emissions by up to 98 percent compared to other headphones.
However, the scientific consensus is that electromagnetic radiation from headphones does not constitute a health hazard. According to the World Health Organization, "no scientific basis currently exists for a connection between electromagnetic hypersensitivity and exposure to electromagnetic fields."

WHO article: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs296/en/


I know a lot of people haven't cared too much about this feature from Ultrasone headphones but I did some research and found a couple of articles in the 3 minutes I spent researching which conflict with the WHO article:




Furthermore, I've been hearing many news reports recently about cell phone radiation and brain damage.




Could it be possible that electromagnetic emissions from headphones DO in fact affect our brains in a negative way?


*For the record, I know there exists a thread similar to this one but I thought I'd give it a refresh since it's been 3 years since that thread was active*


I don't mean to discourage you guys from using and buying headphones, after all that is the reason why I'm here L3000.gif, but I just found it to be really intriguing considering all of the recent news reports.


What are your guy's thoughts or opinions of this?


Edit: I wasn't sure if this is the right place to post this thread, I figured it has to do with sound and with science so I should post it in the Sound Science board.

Edited by miceblue - 3/10/11 at 7:34pm
post #2 of 31
There's a significant difference between magnetic flux and radio frequency (RF) radiation.

RF can harm people, no question. This is well documented and accepted by everyone. There are clear RF guidelines and tons of experimental evidence.

Magnetic flux has been described as both harmful and helpful. If you browse the internets, you'll find various devices that act as magnetic "cures." You'll also find stuff like Ultrasone's marketing materials.

I am neither a medical doctor nor a medical scientist. But I'm an amateur radio guy and take the RF exposure warnings quite seriously. (Cell phones emit RF, not magnetic flux) while I don't see similar scientific evidence for danger from magnetic flux. Doesn't mean it isn't possible, but I am going to need some hard science to buy into that. I haven't seen it yet. Further, any marketing literature should be taken with a grain of salt, if not a transfusion of saline solution.
post #3 of 31
Thread Starter 

Oh I see, I was thinking that magnetic emissions were the same as electromagnetic emissions. Thanks for the insight.

post #4 of 31

Something else to keep in mind about RF is how it can be dangerous.


The way RF can damage you body is by simple heating, the same way a microwave works.  Walking in front of a high power military search radar can cook you alive in a matter of seconds but a cell phone's RF (not the physical electronics) won't even make your ear warm.


This is very different from the higher energy radiation of things like X-rays and radioactive isotopes.  Those forms of radiation are called ionizing radiation and can damage your body in a very different and far more insidious way.  They don't just heat the atoms in your body, they knock electrons straight of the atoms and make them chemically recombine into different molecules.  In the very low doses you may get from a few X-rays throughout your life it won't hurt you at all.  A larger dose can do anything from mildly increasing your chances of cancer to making it a near certainty by destroying and/or mutating portions of your DNA.  A very large dose will ruin so much of your body you will die within days.


Its also important to note that because of quantum effects, the energy level of a form of radiation is either ionizing or it is not.  If the energy level isn't high enough it will not and cannot ionize anything no matter how long that "anything" is exposed to the radiation.  This is why "chronic" cell phone use isn't something to worry about.  It can't cause that type of damage even if you were exposed to it from now to the heat death of the universe.


For the same reason, headphones are of no cause for concern either.  Neither the field of the permanent magnets nor the small amount of just barely RF emitted from the voice coils will cause any health problems unless there is a rather large and improbable mechanism of action that we have yet to discover.


I'm not an expert, but I've still simplified the a little so it doesn't turn into a wall of text. You may have other questions or an actual expert may have some nitpicking to do...

post #5 of 31

I'm with Eric on this one.


Keep in mind that stereo headphones have two fields in opposite directions (a field by definition has a "direction"). These will effectively reduce each other, so at the centre of the head (equal distance from each cup) will have zero exposure due to the magnets, and the head itself will experience minimal exposure due to the rapid rate at which magnetic fields weaken with respect to distance from the source.


^ Note that the above is for a MONO signal ^

post #6 of 31
post #7 of 31

According to this guy's "logic" a pair of T1s should probably make you live forever.

post #8 of 31
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by maverickronin View Post

According to this guy's "logic" a pair of T1s should probably make you live forever.

o.o  It sounds like an interesting concept but too bad it doesn't work.


Originally Posted by leeperry View Post

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/473894/ [:icon12]

Oh sorry, I didn't see that thread earlier when I searched.


post #9 of 31

Don't believe the hype about EMF damage. While it is true that RF radiation can be damaging, if EMF was dangerous or caused tumors we would all be nothing but blobs of suppurating, cancerous flesh.


People living in the 21st century are literally BATHED in EMF. Constantly, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There are so many things in your home that give off EMF, everything from your cellphone to light bulbs. Not to mention TV and radio broadcasts, telephone pole transformers, your car's alternator, and even the earth itself.


Anyone trying to sell you something that reduces EMF for "health-reasons" is 100% full of crap. Lots of sites tout "studies" or "clinical-testing" that proves that EMF is bad. You can also find studies that prove that drinking your pee is good for you ( http://www.all-natural.com/urine.html).



post #10 of 31

That's another good point.  You can usually find one study that seems to "prove" anything.  This has to do with the way statistics work.  Most studies use the standard 95% confidence interval, meaning they report a positive result if the math says its 95% likely the the results are not due to chance.  This of course leaves a 5% chance that the results actually are due to chance.


Because of this one or two studies that show a possible effect are usually meaningless.  If you continue to do studies on any topic you will get spurious results.  They key is consistency and replication.  If 19 studies show that X is not harmful to humans and 1 study shows that it is harmful to humans then what does that mean?  It means that X is probably not harmful to humans.  At a 95% interval you'd expect 1 out of 20 studies to show the wrong thing by chance.


You can't just cherry pick the data you like.  You have to look at all the available data and base you your conclusion on all of it

post #11 of 31


post #12 of 31
Originally Posted by googleborg View Post


My god...


New Case Study: 100% of magnet factory workers posting on internet forums have lost their ability to use QWERTY keyboards! This suggests that the simple act of putting your child's artwork on your refrigerator is equivalent to clamping your wedding-tackle in a hot waffle iron! Only the wedding-tackle is your brain!!!1!!!one!!


Edit: This isn't aimed at anyone posting, just the "scientists" who publish biased garbage to make a buck.

Edited by oddity - 3/14/11 at 10:14am
post #13 of 31
Thread Starter 

Actually I just found this while searching mu-metal + brain...






So maybe changes in magnetic flux can affect the brain? :x

post #14 of 31
Originally Posted by miceblue View Post

changes in magnetic flux can affect the brain?
check out the last page of the link I posted above, serious drivers always have a grill that serves as a faraday cage between the driver and the ear. From what I've seen, only Superlux are careless enough to not have put one.
post #15 of 31
Thread Starter 

Ah I see, it's only the EMF at the EAR, not the whole brain, that makes sense then.

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