How Is It Possible To Use MRI Headphones In An MRI Scan?

Maybe you have to take an MRI scan sometimes in the future. If you are claustrophobic, it will probably be your worst nightmare. There is a way to make an MRI scan a little bit more comfortable – you could possibly listen to music using MRI safe headphones.

MRI scan can last for quite a bit, from 15 minutes, and if the surface they have to scan is larger, it can last for up to an hour and a half. Listening to music can help you pass the time or just calm your nerves with MRI headphones.

MRI is made of many magnets, so before you start your scanning you will be asked to take off any metal objects (jewelry or a watch). They will prepare you for scanning and you will lie down on a bed and be taken for a scan.

Because of the many magnets inside of the scanner, MRI is creating a lot of sounds. MRI noise is quite unpleasant for some people and makes them panic even more. Because of the panic, you might not be able to hold still during the process of scanning.

Some hospitals offer their patients headphones so they can listen to music while they are being scanned. So let’s learn what actually MRI headphones are and how they work.

What Are MRI Headphones?

As previously mentioned, MRI is noisy and the sounds are not only unpleasant but can also potentially hurt patient’s hearing. Also, listening to music is helping a lot of patients to relax and then the time passes by a lot quicker.

Because the MRI is made of magnets, these headphones are quite specific – there can't be any metal in them and they are non-magnetic. All of them are noise-cancelling headphones.

Why Are Headphones Used During MRI Scan?

In MRI there are electromagnets. Whenever it is turned on, the force that is created inside MRI is quite strong. The coil inside MRI is expanding when it is switched on and makes a clicking noise. The picture is created by turning on and of electrical power and the clicking noise is constant. Whoever is in a tube can hear it.

Some say that sound MRI is making is loud as being on a concert. Well, even though concerts are fun, being stuck in a tube and not being able to move for a certain amount of time is not. Add noise to the mix, and it is completely terrifying. One of the reasons for using headphones is relaxing. Doctors are avoiding getting blurry images and having to repeat a scanning.

The sound of MRI can go up to 118 decibels. Another reason for using headphones is making sure your ears are not injured during the process.

How Is It Possible To Use Earphones In An MRI Scan?

Getting any piece of metal inside the MRI scanner should be avoided. Metals can easily cause disruptions in images. That is the main reason why not all headphones can be used while scanning.

Earphones that are non-magnetic are the ones which are used in an MRI scan. You are able to bring your own music, but not earphones. Whether you are bringing your music on a CD, USB or any other device, it will be connected to a stereo system and you should be able to listen to it with scanner headphones.

The variety of MRI headphones on the market is endless.

Benefits Of MRI Headphones During MRI Scan

The most benefits probably have people who are claustrophobic. The number one benefit is that earphones and music can help you feel more comfortable. If listening to music can help you even for a few minutes to calm down and forget where you are, then it is an amazing solution.

Also, you are protecting your ears. People do these scans without headphones and leave without any damages. Whoever if there is a possibility something like that could happen and you have a way to prevent it, why not use headphones?

What Types Of Headphones Are Used In An MRI Machine?

As mentioned, the headphones need to be non-magnetic and there are many different models.

  • Noise cancelling headphones

One type is MRI noise cancelling headphones which are also pneumatic headphones. They can turn down the volume for even forty-nine decibels. These headphones are made of plastic on the outside, foam on the inside and ear tips which are acoustic.

  • Pad headphones

These headphones have foam sponges that fit perfectly to the ears and noise reduction is fantastic. The foam sponges have covers made out of nylon.

  • Stethoscope style headphones

These are the most MRI compatible headphones. They will most likely be able to connect to whatever MRI sound system, but the noise reduction is not as good as in previous models.

How Do MRI Headphones Work?

As you know by now, the MRI makes a magnetic field which makes your everyday headphones impossible to use in this occasion. The special type of headphones is made of specific materials (foam, plastic, nylon) that make them able to work during MRI and don't make any harm.

What Technology Used In MRI Safe Headphones?

As we all know technology is blooming these days. In almost any branch you can find many different devices on the market. The story is all the same with the MRI headphones. Going from Siemens MRI headphones to Philips MRI headphones options are endless.

Because these headphones need to be non-magnetic and there has to be no metal inside of them they are not made the usual way.

One way of making these headphones work is aviation technology. If you remember the headphones inside planes some time ago, you know what we are talking about. They are basically just tubes that transport the music and the real technology is outside the room.

 Because the metal parts are far enough from the MRI they are not harmful, and the tubes transfer the sound right to your ears. You can imagine it as fiber optics, only these tubes transfer sound.

Can You Listen To Music During An MRI?

As we mentioned many times before, yes, you can listen to anything you want during an MRI. Just bring your favorite music with yourself, and they will play it for you.

How Loud Is The Music Played When Wearing Headphones During An MRI?

The MRI itself is really loud, people compare it to the rock concert, so you think that music going through the headphones must be loud too. Well, people mostly say that the music is not loud enough. When we talk about the MRI that makes the noise of 110db it’s hard to be louder than it.

So you will probably hear the comforting beat of the music, however, not all of the lyrics. You can also ask doctors to adjust the volume of the music for you.

There are some special types of in-ear MRI headphones. They act like earplugs so they reduce the noise of the MRI. The music then doesn’t need to be loud at all, and that makes this whole experience much more pleasant.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.      Can you use Bluetooth headphones in an MRI?

You can’t bring your own headphones to an MRI. There are special headphones that the doctors will give to you if you ask. There are non-magnetic and made of special materials.

2.      Can you wear noise-cancelling headphones on MRI?

There are different types of headphones and there are some that are noise cancelling. Depending on a place where you are getting an MRI, you can wear noise-cancelling headphones if they are available.

3.      Can you wear headphones during cardiac MRI?

The answer is yes. The noise that machine makes during the cardiac MRI can be loud, and you are allowed to wear special headphones.

4.      Can you wear headphones in an MRI of the brain?

As these headphones are completely harmless, there is no reason not to wear them during any MRI. For more information, you can always contact your doctors and ask everything you are unsure with.

5.      Do you have to wear headphones for music in MRI machines?

No. The choice is all yours, although it will probably be much more comfortable with the music. You can also just use earplugs.

6.      Can you use headphones in an MRI?

As you have seen before, yes, you can. Those are the special type of headphones and you can use them during an MRI.

7.      How do non-magnetic headphones work?

They look and feel like usual headphones only that they are made out of different materials to be safe. They can’t have any metal inside of them, so they are made just like plastic tubes that transfer sound. The real magic happens outside the room that you are taking an MRI in. Music is just brought to you through the little pipes that are not dangerous or harmful.

Final Word

If you are new to the world of MRI, or your last experience with it wasn't so great, you should definitely try using headphones the next time. You can bring anything you want, jazz, pop, rock, whatever makes you comfortable. Even if it is just your favorite radio station that you listen to on your way to work, it can all be done very easily.

The music will help you relax, forget about the noise that MRI is making and probably calm you down. Try not to think about the whole process and just enjoy the music.

There are no downsides to this idea unless you really hate music, then you are left with just MRI noise.

If you have any experience with MRI headphones you can always write us about it.


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