More than 300,000 people worldwide now have a cochlear implant, a small electronic device with an external transmitter held in place behind the ear with a magnet and an internal electrode array. The devices can help restore a sense of hearing to the profoundly deaf, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. It would make sense that the electromagnetic field in an MRI may interact with the magnet in a cochlear implant to either cause pain or to distort the results of the scan, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved certain MRIs for patients with cochlear implants in specific cases. Some implants have removable magnets, in which case it should be removed. Other patients should use head dressings while in the magnetic machine. Sometimes, even if it is painful, it is still appropriate for the patient to be scanned, but doctors and patients should still be aware of the possibility.
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