Noise from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines may cause temporary hearing threshold impairment even if patients who wear ear protection during the examination.
These results were reported by researchers in China who examined 26 young healthy participants aged 18-30 years and who underwent 3T magnetic resonance neuroimaging. It is standard practice in most imaging centers to provide patients with earplugs and earmuffs to reduce acoustic noise reaching the ears. However, these precautions are not always followed and may not be sufficiently effective, reports Health Imaging.
“Despite the use of hearing protection, healthy volunteers who routinely participate in clinical research may have an increased risk of hearing loss, potentially causing permanent hearing threshold shift,” explained corresponding author Jian Yang, PhD, a researcher at the Department of Diagnostic Radiology at the First Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an at Jiao Tong University, in Shanghai.
To carry out the study, the team used auditory brainstem response to measure hearing thresholds 24 hours before the imaging procedure, as well as 20 minutes and 25 days after the exam. Their results demonstrated a significantly increased mean threshold shift of 5 dB (plus or minus 8.1) immediately after the procedure compared with the baseline study.
“This finding further supports the importance of appropriate hearing protection in clinical practice,” Yang and colleagues added. “Furthermore, developing protective apparatus with higher levels of noise attenuation is desired for reducing the potential risk of hearing loss.”
Source: Health Imaging