Wearing Headphones During an MRI? How Loud is the Music Played?

In the thread on those who have experienced phobias pool, post #12, said that they allowed him to listen to music while undergoing an MRI scan. I am sure that I am missing something, but I thought that all forms of metal/magnetic material would not be allowed around an active MRI.

This website says “You will be given comfortable headphones to diminish noise. Feel free to bring a music CD of your choice or an IPOD to listen to.” I could understand if you would give your IPOD to the technicians and they pipe your music over general room speakers, from the safety of their control room; but “headphones,” to me, suggests more than a passive ear covering to reduce noise.

This blog speaks to the importance of not having ferromagnetic objects anywhere near an MRI, but are not the wires in a headphone just that?

So what am I not understanding? And if it is just the term “headphone” really meaning some kind of noise reducing earmuff, how loudly do the room speakers have to play your music for you to hear it clearly enough over the MRI’s sounds and your earmuffs?

The headphones are pneumatic. They don’t have wires in them.

The MRI technician can adjust the volume for you.

For anyone wondering what pneumatic headphones are, think back to the era when the flight attendant gave you free headphones, and they were just tubes that plugged into a pair of holes in the armrest.

Unfortunately, I can only assume the volume delivered at your ears is pretty high. The last time the MRI tech offered me headphones, they weren’t all that much. It would be a lot better if they could use Comply eartips like what’s used on premium earbuds for better blocking of the scanner’s noise.

Normally, I just take the earplugs and have a nap.

Oh, Thank you very much, I never knew that pneumatic headphones existed!

How loud is the music played?

Not nearly loud enough.

I agree. Back in 2002 when I made my MRI mix, the music was not really audible when the machine was running. I could just make out the beat, but not any lyrics. It was still something of a comfort to have it there though.

Anyone know the main frequencies of the MRI? It might be possible to amplify other frequencies to make what you listen to more audible.

Ever been in an MRI? The noises are varied and discontinuous, nor can you expect what will be heard at any given second.

They’re not cheap:


They don’t play it all that loud. IME, it wasn’t so much to drown out the sound of the MRI, it was more to kill the boredom. MRIs are pretty loud, if they played the music loud enough to drown that out, it would have to be really loud. Also, the MRI has a fairly low frequency (IIRC), so regular music isn’t really going to kill that anyways. Yes, it helps, but it also helps pass the time and help keep your mind off being in a tube, barely bigger than you, for 45 minuets.
When I had mine, they gave me headphones (with music) and then ear muffs (like you’d use when shooting or using power tools) over the headphones and it was still pretty loud.
Everything I’m reading says an MRI can hit about 110db, that’s the equivalent of a chainsaw, rock concert or car horn…loud.

Just for reference, here’s some of the sounds an MRI makes. Turn that up and think about what it would take to not hear it. Also, of note, there’s no (for the most part) moving parts in an MRI. All those noises are the electromagnet turning on and off or switching direction.
OTOH, I always liked this video, it’s a CT scanner with the cover removed. Compared to an MRI a CT is nothing. OTOH, an MRI has no moving parts, but when you see what’s going on inside a CT it looks like it could cut you in half.

The sound of an MRI is like a chorus of jack hammers within the cacophony of urban traffic. Amazingly, the music can be heard above it.

Those are the ones marketed as MRI noise-reduction pneumatic headphones. The ones the airlines used were cheap.

Last time I had an MRI, they asked me if I brought had an iPod or phone with music they could hook up, and when I didn’t, they asked me what my favorite radio station was, and I gave the name of the local NPR station. The tech looked at me doubtfully, because it was playing news at the time.

The guy was acting like it was somehow required that I listen to something, so I asked if I really had to, and he was surprised. That’s when I found out that most people hate MRIs.

I don’t like not being able to scratch an itch, but I don’t mind them at all. If there’s a word for* liking *enclosed spaces, I have that. I love driving through tunnels and such. I started to fall asleep in an MRI once. They are noisy, but it’s not that bad.

I did too. I had asked for classical music, and got 45 minutes of something early baroque, which puts me to sleep.

An abnormal liking of enclosed spaces is claustrophilia.

When they gave me the headphones, before they slid me into the machine, I thought they had the volume rather high. But once inside, with the MRI going, it was fine – even a little low. But I found it fairly easy to ‘tune’ myself to the music and ignore the random noises of the MRI. And it was a nice distraction from what was going on.

YMMV, I was sure I’d wig out in my MRI, but they ended up doing multiple scans because I fell asleep and started chasing a tennis ball or something. You’ll probably be fine.

I was in a CT the other day and MRI before. I’ve never listened to music, but other sounds over earphone aren’t extra loud. Probably lower than many people listen to their crappy iPhone earbuds while walking down the street. They are either in-ear monitors or circumaural headphones designed to block external sound as best as possible.

That’s nothing. The earbuds someone I know uses are $2400.