Dear Mr. Health Officer,
It has recently been brought to my attention that headphones and portable audio devices will be permanently banned from the lab. The reasons put forth for this action are a perceived increased risk in bumping into someone while moving around in the lab, inability to hear fire alarms or someone calling for help after-hours. Let me address these concerns one by one. Firstly there are hearing impaired individuals working in the OHRI that might take offense to this. I propose instead that headphones should only be used when stationary, such has at the bench, computers or while at tissue culture stations. Safety is a question of comon sense, when working with hazardous material, one should wear eye protection, but clearly that is not needed when working on the computer. I feel this situation is analogous. Secondly, the fire alarm as you are well aware is actually very loud, and by design cannot be drowned by one of these devices. Thirdly, one should not be working with hazardous materials after-hours, and does so at his or her own risk. It is my conviction that the ipod is not only safe, but an essential tool in the lab, as i use it professionally to listen to scholarly publication podcasts. In fact no accounts of lab accidents caused by such devices has been reported here, in the litterature or any other research institution to date. If you want more information on the benefits of personal audio devices in a lab or hospital environment I recommend these ressources :
iPOD, iSAW, iCONQUERED "In general, music ‘at low levels can improve performance of … tasks, especially in an unstimulating environment or in an unmotivated individual’1 and music of any type has not been shown to affect anaesthetist’s psychomotor performance in a simulated environment".
The effect of music on anaesthetists' psychomotor performance "We undertook a laboratory-based study of the effects of music on the psychomotor performance of 12 anaesthetic trainees. Using part of the computer-based PsychE psychomotor evaluation programme, we were unable to demonstrate any effect of self-chosen music, silence, white noise or classical music on their performance in these tests. "
Integrating and promoting medical podcasts into the library collection "Podcasts offer a way for medical professionals to listen to current information in medicine from an iPod, MP3 player, handheld device, or computer. As podcasts become more popular, libraries may be interested in integrating programs into the library collection. South Pointe Medical Library evaluated medical podcasts relevant to the scope of the library collection and explored methods for finding and organizing such programs in ways that are efficient for both the librarian and the patron.".