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Can Your IEM Save Lives? This One Did. (An Audio360.org Special Feature)

audio360.org> > IEMs > > Can Your IEM Save Lives? This One Did. (An Audio360.org Special Feature)

Friday, August 15th, 2014

By Warren Chi with Dr. Terry Dichter, M.D.


Disclaimer: The following is an account of true events. And while it was fortunate for all parties involved, we would like to note that at no time do we consider any audio product to be a medical device for the treatment of any ailment whatsoever. As always, please use common sense and consult a physician for the diagnosis or treatment of any and all conditions.


Here at Audio360, we hear all kinds of wonderful stories from our fellow personal audio enthusiasts... stories of joy and delight at finding the perfect IEM to reach audio Nirvana.

It happens all the time, and we never get tired of hearing these tales (so keep your audio success stories coming).

But as heartwarming as those tales are, none of them can compare to the time we heard this:

"My IEMs helped save a man's life."

Come again?

"They helped save a life."

And just like you're waiting for a punchline right now, we waited for hilarity to ensue. But that punchline never came.

What we did hear was the following amazing account.


I had just finished my shift in the "birdcage". The birdcage is a room just outside of the ER, where radiologists read and evaluate emergency x-rays and ultrasounds for the emergency room physicians.

Of course, I had my iPod and UE TripleFis with me during my shift, and I was as happy as a pig in s**t. When my shift ends, I usually walk through the ER on my way to the parking garage.

Here is what happened on a random Thursday night:

I was walking through the ER, and the ultrasound technologist was attempting to perform a cardiac ultrasound on a patient who came in with upper back pain.

She couldn't find the earphones. That's right, a $50K real-time ultrasound machine uses earphones equivalent to ones bought at Toys ?' Us. I tore myself away from the Ode To Joy from Beethoven's Ninth, and plugged my TripleFis into the ultrasound machine.

The ER is a rather noisy place. Luckily, the UE's noise isolation was really good and I was able to hear a low frequency Austin Flint (aortic regurgitation) murmur (~100Hz).

Because of the patient's sudden onset of back pain, I told the ER doc that the patient probably had suffered an ascending aortic tear, and the dissection probably extended into the aortic valve rendering it incompetent, resulting in the Austin Flint murmur.

The patient was sent to surgery where the cardiac surgeons repaired the aorta and aortic valve.

The bottom line is that the UE TripleFis were instrumental (no pun intended) in saving the man's life.

And for a week or two I was considered on a par with Doogie Howser and Captain America.

-Terry A. Dichter, M.D.


Wow, that's absolutely astounding! Maybe a little accentuation in the mid-bass isn't such a bad thing after all? And of course, good isolation always helps.

Ultimate Ears's TripleFi has been discontinued for some time now. Those looking for its successor should look to the UE 900 instead.

In researching this story a little more, we found that UE was well aware of this tale, and has been for quite some time. They simply (and understandably) felt that it was too personal and touching to make any PR mention of it.

Way to be a class act UE!

Instead, they quietly shared it amongst themselves, as an example of how doing a job right can sometimes result in unexpected goodness.

But here at Audio360.org, we were fascinated by this story, and felt it was just too good not to share. And, well, here we are.

These days, Dr. Dichter has since moved on to a pair of UE900 IEMs, and continues to fight the good fight.

If you're ever in the Southern California area, and are able to come to a Head-Fi meet, you'll likely find him volunteering behind the registration desk.

We wish him the very best - and happy, happy listening - regardless of what he might be listening to.

And we wish Ultimate Ears continued success in making fine products that help soothe the soul - and occasionally - help save a life.

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