Two-phase survey on the frequency of use and safety of MRI for hearing implant recipients

Paul van de Heyning, Griet Mertens, Vedat Topsakal, Ruben de Brito, Wilhelm Wimmer, Marco D. Caversaccio, Stefan Dazert, Stefan Volkenstein, Mario Zernotti, Lorne S. Parnes, Hinrich Staecker, Iain A. Bruce, Gunesh Rajan, Marcus Atlas, Peter Friedland, Piotr H. Skarzynski, Serafima Sugarova, Vladislav Kuzovkov, Abdulrahman Hagr, Robert MlynskiJoachim Schmutzhard, Shin Ichi Usami, Luis Lassaletta, Javier Gavilán, Benoit Godey, Christopher H. Raine, Rudolf Hagen, Georg M. Sprinzl, Kevin Brown, Wolf Dieter Baumgartner, Eva Karltorp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is often used to visualize and diagnose soft tissues. Hearing implant (HI) recipients are likely to require at least one MRI scan during their lifetime. However, the MRI scanner can interact with the implant magnet, resulting in complications for the HI recipient. This survey, which was conducted in two phases, aimed to evaluate the safety and performance of MRI scans for individuals with a HI manufactured by MED-EL (MED-EL GmbH, Innsbruck, Austria). Methods: A survey was developed and distributed in two phases to HEARRING clinics to obtain information about the use of MRI for recipients of MED-EL devices. Phase 1 focused on how often MRI is used in diagnostic imaging of the head region of the cochlear implant (CI) recipients. Phase 2 collected safety information about MRI scans performed on HI recipients. Results: 106 of the 126 MRI scans reported in this survey were performed at a field strength of 1.5 T, on HI recipients who wore the SYNCHRONY CI or SYNCHRONY ABI. The head and spine were the most frequently imaged regions. 123 of the 126 scans were performed without any complications; two HI recipients experienced discomfort/pain. One recipient required reimplantation after an MRI was performed using a scanner that had not been approved for that implant. There was only one case that required surgical removal of the implant to reduce the imaging artefact. Conclusion: Individuals with either a SYNCHRONY CI or SYNCHRONY ABI from MED-EL can safely undergo a 1.5 T MRI when it is performed according to the manufacturer’s safety policies and procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4225-4233
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Auditory brainstem implant
  • Bone conduction
  • Cochlear implant
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Middle ear implant
  • Safety


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