It can take less than an hour of 3T MRI exposure to produce weeks of altered hearing ability, Radiology Business reports.
Citing an article in Radiology, the report said a study found that even if patients wear hearing protection during an exam, their hearing ability can be affected significantly.
MRIs are common diagnostic tools, and a strong machine like a 3T MR system can reach levels of up to 130.7 decibels during an exam, lead author Chao Jin, PhD, and colleagues wrote.
Hearing loss doesn't always happen, but to avoid it, clinicians recommend that patients be fitted with earplugs, earmuffs or sponge mats before undergoing an MRI.
“The acoustic noise [of] MR imaging remains a well-recognized issue of concern for the person who is imaged, and the noise-induced hearing loss is also a public health concern,” the report's authors said.
“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.”
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