Log in
British Tinnitus Association
3,109 members1,964 posts

MRI and Tinnitus

Okay short version I got referred for hearing aid (15-20% hearing loss) and told to have an MRI just to make sure there isn’t another reason for the never ending noise. My fear is that the MRI machine which we all know is loud and I’m worrying that the MRI will kick my t up big time and so I’m not sure whether to get it done or. It. The Audiologist and Ent doc never said it was a must just that he would rather say he ruled other things out than leave it to chance. So my fellow sufferers is their a chance that the MRI will make it worse?

Anyone with experience would be helpful as well negative or positive. I plan on ringing the place up to ask their opinion as well (and will post it up).

34 Replies
oldestnewest

I got my MRI done in the initial days of T.Dint really see any difference in T coz of MRI machine...

1 like
Reply

Thanks for your input. A few people have said the same. Still nervous but I’m sure that’s normal. I’m going to speak to the MRI people before I go in and have it done just to explain my fears about the noise level and my t. Hopefully it’ll be nothing.

Reply

I saw an audiologist at the Royal Ear Nose Throat hospital this week. He was so helpful. My tinnitus is no different but I feel more optimistic about managing it, with the help of one of their therapists. I asked him about if loud sounds would make it worse and he said that this is a fear lots of people have, but it is only very very long sustained loud noises that are problematic. And I must admit I had no issues with my tinnitus after the MRI - quite the opposite. Before I went to the Royal ENT I had already done the MRI scan to rule out a physical aspect. I did it at the Homerton Hospital in Hackney. I was shaking with fear before I went in, and a part of that was apprehension at the noise levels. For the same reasons as you and also because I have an aversion to certain loud noises (hyperacusis). When I lay down to go in the machine, the clinician put a head mask thing on me and that was too much. I immediately said I wasn't going to do it. However he was absolutely brilliant. He said it would be fine for me to leave and that was definitely my option, but why not try it for 10 seconds, to see what it's like. He showed me that there's a button I can press and he will stop everything straight away. I nearly said no but he was so so so understanding and I trusted him so I agreed. When I was in the machine he spoke to me and kept asking me how I was and reassuring me I could stop if I needed. I did still feel anxious but the noise level wasn't as bad as I had anticipated, and I did my meditation breathing exercises, and actually it was over in 10 minutes which went quite fast. I was on a high afterwards and my tinnitus actually calmed down as a result. I would not bat an eyelid about going again. This is my experience, and I can't say about you, but I would say that the key is to go along and see if you trust the clinician to stop it if you can't handle it. Having control is what made the difference to me.

Reply

ps my audiologist said that hearing aids can sometimes really help, so good luck I hope it works for you. My hearing loss is not bad enough for hearing aids apparently, but I am still considering if I might try them anyway. Let us know how you get on!

1 like
Reply

I will and plan to put up a thread for the first few days of trying the hearing aids and I’ve been told by the ent that the high pitch noise may go and the lower noise is most likely because I can’t hear at that low level anymore and should go with the aids so I’m hoping that he is right and that happens and even if it takes the low but leaves the high pitch I coped with that one and got on with my daily life as normal so I’m mainly hoping the low one goes.

Thanks for your input about the MRI. Yh o think fear is right up there and so I’ll definitely give it a go. I’ll update the day or and the moment after lol.

Reply

I too was absolutely terrified at the thought of subjecting my already noisy t to the undeniably loud racket inside an MRI scanner and only went in with the calm help of a kind nurse, who allowed me to hold her hand whilst it all happened....I know, but needs must! There was zero change to my t after the MRI, but my hearing aid made a huge difference and I haven't looked back. So it's all good...fill your boots and kick on. Xx

1 like
Reply

Thanks for your reply. All the positive ones are giving me a boost of confidence. Whether I make it through is another thing lol but I’ll give it the old scarify cat try lol.

Reply

Hi I been in one and to be honest I didn't find it that bad if you don't get it done your allways be wondering a other what they mite find thare wasn't much room in thare but I close my eyes till I it was over

1 like
Reply

Yh I’ve been warned about the tight fit and being six 2 and a (healthy 😏) 16 1/2 stone I think I’ll cope. It’ll only be 20 mins max so I’ll hold on and white knuckle it lol.

Reply

Hi,

I've had a few MRI scans over the past few years, all were much quieter than the one that was done 18 years ago when T began. Maybe newer/some MRI machines are nowhere near as noisy as older ones / others.

1 like
Reply

Well if it has a chance then I’ll probably skip it. Don’t want to risk a change in volume.

Reply

I had the MRI done in the states and I ask for hearing plugs. They help a little bit but the machine is still allowed but didn't have no problem with the T

1 like
Reply

Okay. I plan on speaking to the people in charge of the machine before I go in and tell them my worries. I’d rather not risk a change in the t no matter how slight it is.

Reply

Hi

I’ve had about 10 MRI scans and they’ve never made any difference to my t. I take my hearing aids out and wear headphones. You can have music playing, but strangely enough I prefer my own ear noise!

It’s the claustrophobic feeling that’s the worse. I’ve literally cried before and had to have a nurse hold my hand the whole time. I’ve also been scanned and then taken out and had an injection and put back in. That was horrible. For my last one a couple of years ago I just counted and kept my eyes shut - that worked for me. I’m having another one soon so I’ll follow my own advice.

You’ll be fine.

1 like
Reply

Thanks for the reply. I’m not a music fan but I think I’ll take something just in case lol. I’m really going to give it a try so I’m sure there’s nothing going on inside my head (although my niece recently told me if they were looking to scan my brain they should be aiming the machine at my bottom lol).

1 like
Reply

You’ll be fine. I’m very claustrophobic and I’ve done it. I can’t even bear being in a room with the door shut!

1 like
Reply

Oh I’m not that bad. Just get a bit freaked out in small places but I’ll go to my happy place.

Reply

No worries- I also have T - did an MRI and it is indeed loud, but it was not affecting my T. If you are very stressed and you have a benzo at hand, I took 1/2 beforehand. Just make sure you don’t need to drive yourself. No worries and good luck.

1 like
Reply

Thanks.

Can’t drive...yet. It’s on the list of to dos lol. I’m not as nervous thanks to the positive comments but I’ll bet that’ll change when I come face to face with the MRI Machine lol.

Reply

I Google it n it says it can

1 like
Reply

Yh that’s where I first got the nerves. Like I said the plan is to ask the nurses or whoever is doing the scan. If they don’t know and I can’t cover the noise well then I won’t be doing it. I can only ask the experts.

Reply

Just got sent a link from a friend who said that most doctors don’t realise the dangers of an MRI for a patient with Tinnitus. Now I’m starting to think not to do it. Not because I don’t believe those who’ve had it but because I don’t want to take the chance. With my hearing already damaged (15-20% loss) plus the t that I’m already dealing with I might just not take the chance.

I’ll add that the ent I saw and the audiologist who check my hearing both said they believe the loss and t are from an infection and only wanted to do an MRI to just be able to say that it was done so if there’s that chance that it can make it worse I don’t want to give it the chance. I’ve been to the edge of dealing with T and got very close to something I wouldn’t be able to walk back from and THATS NOT THE ANSWER as we all know.

healthimaging.com/topics/pr...

For those interested. People with hearing loss and hearing problems apparently shouldn’t be put in that situation so Yh I might skip it. The docs don’t think there’s a reason to apart from saying that it was done so I really am thinking not to.

1 like
Reply

I couldn’t do it. Took one look at the machine and walked out. Apparently my doc wasn’t happy as the office never returned my message explaining I couldn’t tolerate loud noises and has to leave.

1 like
Reply

I can imagine. I’ve spoken to a friend who said she was okay at the start but the noise became unbearable.

1 like
Reply

I've had four MRIs and they aren't that bad. My T is definitely noise induced but the reasons we have T are different per person. They should give you ear defenders and a call button in case you need to stop and there's a periscope type mirror above you to see the control room. They should offer to play music. You can take a CD or they'll have something to play.

It can't be denied they are noisy, but it's intermittent throughout the session not continuous. It's a kind of grating noise. My first MRI was for T then two to diagnose MS. At my yearly MS check up they wanted another MRI to check my spine was clear and I was really apprehensive as I'd just had a cold (which also worsens MY T) so they suggested I use ear plugs that I normally wear to concerts AS WELL AS the ear defenders. That was better so I suggest that.

Also you mention your 'happy place'. Mine is a land in a computer game I play and in the last MRI I walked through this land and when I came out and my mum asked how I felt I said I felt as though I was just waking up from a lovely dream.

I know this is your first so you don't have experience to refer back to but hopefully the comments of others will help. I would encourage you to have it done for peace of mind that there isn't anything else to be concerned about. ;0)

1 like
Reply

My t and hearing loss came about thanks to an ear infection. Ent audiologist said it’s unlikely anything else is wrong but wanted to do an MRI so he could say that it was done. I had a big spike after a cinema trip and was in emotional agony for weeks and it’s only just calmed down so I really don’t want to go through that again.

You’re right I’ve not had one before so the nerves are there for that alone. I’m planning on ringing up tomorrow and speak to someone at the hospital about it. At this moment I’m 80% sure I won’t be able to do it but again that may change after ringing the hospital.

Thanks.

Reply

Something else I just thought about is that you haven't experienced it but there are heaps of videos online of others who have or 'enlightening' videos. If you google 'what happens in an MRI' you'll find loads of videos to watch. The first few I looked at didn't accurately represent the sounds which is obviously your concern but this one does:

This'll be more accurate than just talking about it. ;0)

1 like
Reply

Well I listened to about three minutes of that then skipped a few minutes and don’t think I’d cope and I just know that’ll kick up the noise but like I said I’ll speak to the ent and MRI place tomorrow and see what they have to say but I’m still at 80 on the not doing it.

Reply

Go for it, the peace of mind is worth the noise and from my experience the increase in T volume is short term afterwards. And I have had 15 x MRI sessions so far !

Reply

After the recent spike which I really couldn’t cope with and had a few breakdowns I’m not sure I can deal with another.l but I’ll ring the ent and MRI tomorrow and tell them my worries and see what they say.

Thanks.

Reply

Good luck my T. was not affected by MRI.

1 like
Reply

Thanks. Think I’m going to skip it. To fearful it’ll bring on another spike. I know some have said it didnt but others have said it did. I’m calling up Tuesday to speak to someone and see what they think but will most likely not do it. Can’t take the chance.

Reply

My experience. I have had about 8 MRI scans over the last 5 years, due to check ups post surgery. This week I had my latest in a brand new Siemens machine, which I somehow expected to be less noisy, but it wasn’t. The scan lasts 20 minutes for me and it’s not particularly pleasant, but bearable. They give you headphones which are rather inadequate in my opinion (they really need to be the noise cancelling type). While lying there, I suddenly realised why I now have developed this permanent screaming in my head over the last few years, about 11,000 hz of high pitch tone to be precise - I’m convinced it’s due to the MRI scanner! My tinnitus was much worse after the scan and has not diminished as yet. Does anyone else have the same opinion? Regards to all.

Reply

So sorry that it’s gotten worse. I didn’t do it. I spoke to one of the nurses (I think they’re nurses lol) and told them about the Tinnitus she asked me if the ent said I needed it and I said no he said it was just so he could mark it off his list or basically so they could say they’d done it as she said Yh that’s fine. She said they weren’t sure on Tinnitus reaction to it that there isn’t any real evidence (she mustn’t have heard about health-unchecked) but that it wouldn’t surprise her.

I’m just waiting on hearing aids now. Lost 15-20% hearing in my left ear and they think the aids will help with the t as well (15th June). Hopefully. I really do feel bad that you had to and are currently dealing with the noise level.

Reply

You may also like...