Cochlear Implants

Cochlear Implants

Cochlear implants are electronically-activated devices. Consequently, an MR procedure may be contraindicated for a patient with this type of implant because of the possibility of injuring the patient and/or altering or damaging the function of the device. In general, individuals with cochlear implants should be prevented from entering the MR environment unless specific guidelines exist to ensure safety for these devices.

Investigations have been conducted to determine if there are situations and specific conditions for a patient with a cochlear implant to safely undergo an MR procedure. These studies have resulted in highly specific guidelines that must be followed in order to safely perform MR examinations in patients with certain cochlear implants. Notably, some cochlear implants require the use of a 0.2-Tesla or 0.3-Tesla MR system, only, as part of the guidelines.

In other cases, the magnet associated with the cochlear implant may require removal prior to the MRI examination and the replacement following the scan. Additional MRI concerns include possible demagnetization of the internal magnet associated with the cochlear implant be exposure to the powerful static magnetic field of the MR system, as well as the substantial artifacts that exist if this magnet remains in place during an MRI examination.

Recently, some cochlear implants have received approval designating them as "MR Conditional". Please refer to the specific information for a given cochlear implant in order to safely perform an MR procedure in a patient with this device.

Note to MR Healthcare Professionals: Different MRI guidelines exist for different countries. As such, use the appropriate information for your country.

MR healthcare professionals are advised to contact the respective manufacturer in order to obtain the latest safety information to ensure patient safety relative to the use of an MR procedure.


Broomfield SJ, et al. Cochlear implants and magnetic resonance scans: A case report and review. Cochlear Implants Int 2013;14:51-5.

Chou H-K, et al. Absence of radiofrequency heating from auditory implants during magnetic resonance imaging. Bioelectromagnetics 1995;16:307-316.

Deneuve S, et al. Cochlear implant magnet displacement during magnetic resonance imaging. Otol Neurotol. 2008;29:789-190.

Dubrulle F, et al. Cochlear implant with a non-removable magnet: preliminary research at 3-T MRI. Eur Radiol 2013;23:1510-8.

Gubbels SP, McMenomey SO. Safety study of the Cochlear Nucleus 24 device with internal magnet in the 1.5 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging scanner. Laryngoscope. 2006;116:865-71.

Heller JW, et al. Evaluation of MRI compatibility of the modified nucleus multi-channel auditory brainstem and cochlear implants. Am J Otol 1996;17:724-729.

Jeon JH, et al. Reversing the polarity of a cochlear implant magnet after magnetic resonance imaging. Auris Nasus Larynx. 2012;39:415-7.

Kim JH, et al. Magnetic resonance imaging compatibility of the polymer-based cochlear implant. Clin Exp Otorhinolaryngol. 2012;5:S19-23.

Majdani O, Rau TS, Gotz F, et al. Artifacts caused by cochlear implants with non-removable magnets in 3T MRI: phantom and cadaveric studies. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2009;266:1885-90

Majdani O, et al. Demagnetization of cochlear implants and temperature changes in 3.0T MRI environment. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2008;139:833-9.

Migirov L, et al. Magnet removal and reinsertion in a cochlear implant recipient undergoing brain MRI. ORL J Otorhinolaryngol Relat Spec 2013;75:1-5.

Nospes S, et al. Magnetic resonance imaging in patients with magnetic hearing implants: Overview and procedural management. Radiologe 2013 Epub ahead of print.

Ouayoun M, et al. Nuclear magnetic resonance and cochlear implant. Ann Otolaryngol Chir Cervicofac 1997;114:65-70.

Shellock FG. Magnetic Resonance Procedures: Health Effects and Safety. CRC Press, LLC, Boca Raton, FL, 2001.

Teissl C, Kremser C, Hochmair ES, Hochmair-Desoyer IJ. Cochlear implants: in vitro investigation of electromagnetic interference at MR imaging-compatibility and safety aspects. Radiology 1998;208:700-708.

Teissl C, Kremser C, Hochmair ES, Hochmair-Desoyer IJ. Magnetic resonance imaging and cochlear implants: compatibility and safety aspects. J Magn Reson Imag 1999;9:26-38.

  Shellock R & D Services, Inc. email:
  Copyright © 2023 by Shellock R & D Services, Inc. and Frank G. Shellock, Ph.D. All rights reserved.