MRI and Cochlear Implants: The Facts
Ensuring Your Comfort and Safety

MRI is one of the most important diagnostic imaging tools for healthcare professionals. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans use powerful magnets to create detailed images of the inside of a person’s body. MRI safety is especially important for cochlear implant recipients, because every cochlear implant has an internal magnet that can be affected by an MRI scan.

Our SYNCHRONY Cochlear Implant uses a revolutionary, self-aligning magnet that ensures the highest degree of MRI safety and comfort. SYNCHRONY lets you have high-resolution 3.0 Tesla MRI scans without needing surgery to remove the magnet.* With SYNCHRONY, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’re ready for anything that life can bring.

Dr. Harold Pillsbury, MD

If you’re going to get an MRI and have a choice, 3.0 T is the gold standard.

Dr. Harold Pillsbury, MD

Chair, UNC Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA

No Surgery.
No Discomfort.
No Hearing Downtime.

No surgery
No discomfort
No hearing downtime

1.5 & 3.0 Tesla MRI Without Surgery
Safe, simple, and surgery-free. SYNCHRONY can undergo both 1.5 and 3.0 Tesla MRI scans with the implant magnet in place. That means you won’t need surgery to remove and replace the magnet before and after your MRI.1

No Discomfort
Relax—there’s no pressure. SYNCHRONY has a self-aligning magnet, so there’s no painful magnetic pulling on the implant during an MRI scan. That means outstanding comfort, even during high-strength 3.0 Tesla scans.2

Uninterrupted Hearing
Why wait? Hear right away after an MRI. Without surgery, there’s no waiting for healing, or hearing downtime, so you can use your audio processor immediately before and after your MRI.

Immediate Access to MRI—Instant Return to Hearing

With SYNCHRONY, you can have a high-resolution 3.0 T MRI of any part of your body at any time. It’s a routine procedure and you can go back to using your audio processor right away after your MRI.

Plan MRI MRI Scan

MRI Scans With Other Implants

With some other cochlear implants, any 3.0 Tesla MRI is much more complicated.

ScheduleSurgeries Surgically RemoveMagnet MRI Scan Surgically ImplantMagnet Hearing Downtime Returnto UsingProcessor PlanMRI

  • You may need to schedule an X-ray to first identify what type of cochlear implant magnet you have.
  • Next, you’ll need to schedule a surgery to remove the magnet from your cochlear implant. You won’t be able to use your audio processor after the surgery.
  • Then you’ll need to have the MRI scan performed.
  • After your scan, you’ll have to have a new magnet surgically implanted.
  • After the new magnet has been surgically inserted, you should be able to use your audio processor again.


MED-EL: Made for MRI 

In a recent study reviewing MRIs and cochlear implants, MED-EL recipients were the only group of cochlear implant recipients able to complete MRIs without pain, discomfort, or complications.1

Every MED-EL recipient in the study completed their MRI scan or scans without any issue. These recipients had our previous generations of MED-EL implants. Many of the patients with other brands experienced pain, discomfort, or complications; these problems included pain at the implant site, having to stop the MRI, and even the dislocation of the implant magnet.

Kim et al. (2015) found complications during 1.5 T MRI scans for:
- Advanced Bionics: 2 out of 5 recipients (9 total scans)
- Cochlear: 5 out of 9 recipients (12 total scans)
- MED-EL: 0 out of 3 recipients (8 total scans)

MRI Complications
CI Recipients in Kim et al. (2015)1,2

MRI Study
SYNCHRONY’s revolutionary magnet design delivers the highest MRI safety of any cochlear implant.

Revolutionary Magnet Design

SYNCHRONY’s magnet can freely rotate and self-align inside of its housing, so it’s not adversely affected by the magnetic field of an MRI scan. There’s no torque or “tugging” on the implant, for optimal comfort and security during an MRI.

SYNCHRONY Cochlear Implant

MRI safety guidelines for professionals: Important MRI Safety Information

* Recipients with a SYNCHRONY Cochlear Implant may be safely MRI scanned at 0.2, 1.0, 1.5, and 3.0 Tesla following the conditions detailed in the instructions for use.

  1. Kim, B.G., Kim, J.W., Park, J.J., Kim, S.H., Kim, H.N., & Choi, J.Y. (2015). Adverse events and discomfort during magnetic resonance imaging in cochlear implant recipients. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 141(1), 45–52. doi: 10.1001/jamaoto.2014.2926.

  2. These figures represent the percentage of recipients in the study who experienced discomfort, pain, or other complications during 1.5 T MRI (two 3.0 T scans were excluded from the figure). Kim et al. (2015) is a retrospective study looking at 1.5 T and 3.0 T MRI scans performed on CI recipients between 2003 and 2014. The study included 18 individuals; 5 recipients had Advanced Bionics devices, 11 had Cochlear devices, and 3 had MED-EL implants. Advanced Bionics recipients had 9 total 1.5 T scans; Cochlear recipients had 12 total 1.5 T scans and 2 total 3.0 T scans; and MED-EL recipients had 8 total 1.5 T scans.

© 2020 MED-EL

We are using first- and third-party cookies which enable us to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. Please click on 'Accept' to agree to the usage of cookies and hide this message permanently. You can find a list and description of the cookies used in our Cookie Policy.