Pediatric Radiology

, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 37–45 | Cite as

Does 3-T fetal MRI induce adverse acoustic effects in the neonate? A preliminary study comparing postnatal auditory test performance of fetuses scanned at 1.5 and 3 T

  • Camilo Jaimes
  • Jorge Delgado
  • Mary Beth Cunnane
  • Holly L. Hedrick
  • N. Scott Adzick
  • Michael S. Gee
  • Teresa VictoriaEmail author
Original Article



Fetal MRI at 3 T is associated with increased acoustic noise relative to 1.5 T.


The goal of this study is to determine if there is an increased prevalence of congenital hearing loss in neonates who had a 3-T prenatal MR vs. those who had it at 1.5 T.

Materials and methods

We retrospectively identified all subjects who had 3-T fetal MRI between 2012 and 2016 and also underwent universal neonatal hearing screening within 60 days of birth. Fetuses with incomplete hearing screening, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies at both field strengths or fetuses affected by conditions associated with hearing loss were excluded. A random group of controls scanned at 1.5 T was identified. Five subjects had repeat same-strength MRIs (one at 3 T and four at 1.5 T). The pass/fail rate of the transient otoacoustic emissions test and auditory brainstem response test were compared using the Fisher exact test. A logistic regression was performed to assess the effects of other known risk factors for congenital hearing loss.


Three hundred forty fetal MRI examinations were performed at 3 T, of which 62 met inclusion criteria. A control population of 1.5-T fetal MRI patients was created using the same exclusion criteria, with 62 patients randomly selected from the eligible population. The fail rates of transient otoacoustic emissions test for the 1.5-T and 3-T groups were 9.7% and 6.5%, respectively, and for the auditory brainstem response test were 3.2% and 1.6%, respectively. There was no significant difference in the fail rate of either test between groups (P=0.74 for transient otoacoustic emissions test, and P=0.8 for auditory brainstem response test). The median gestational age of the 3-T group was 30 weeks, 1 day, significantly higher (P<0.001) than the 1.5-T group (median gestational age: 20 weeks, 2 days).


Our findings suggest that the increase in noise associated with 3 T does not increase the rate of clinically detectable hearing abnormalities.


Acoustic effects 3-Tesla Fetus Hearing test Magnetic resonance imaging Newborn Safety 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest



  1. 1.
    Munim S, Nadeem S, Khuwaja NA (2006) The accuracy of ultrasound in the diagnosis of congenital abnormalities. J Pak Med Assoc 56:16–18PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Rankin J, Pattenden S, Abramsky L et al (2005) Prevalence of congenital anomalies in five British regions, 1991-99. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 90:F374–F379CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Zimmer EZ, Avraham Z, Sujoy P et al (1997) The influence of prenatal ultrasound on the prevalence of congenital anomalies at birth. Prenat Diagn 17:623–628CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (2013) AIUM practice guideline for the performance of obstetric ultrasound examinations. J Ultrasound Med 32:1083–1101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Patek KJ, Kline-Fath BM, Hopkin RJ et al (2012) Posterior fossa anomalies diagnosed with fetal MRI: associated anomalies and neurodevelopmental outcomes. Prenat Diagn 32:75–82CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bebbington M, Victoria T, Danzer E et al (2014) Comparison of ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging parameters in predicting survival in isolated left-sided congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol 43:670–674CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Li Y, Sansgiri RK, Estroff JA et al (2011) Outcome of fetuses with cerebral ventriculomegaly and septum pellucidum leaflet abnormalities. AJR Am J Roentgenol 196:W83–W92CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Griffiths PD, Bradburn M, Campbell MJ et al (2016) Use of MRI in the diagnosis of fetal brain abnormalities in utero (MERIDIAN): a multicentre, prospective cohort study. Lancet 389:538–546CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Victoria T, Jaramillo D, Roberts TP et al (2014) Fetal magnetic resonance imaging: jumping from 1.5 to 3 tesla (preliminary experience). Pediatr Radiol 44:376–386Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Victoria T, Johnson AM, Edgar JC et al (2016) Comparison between 1.5-T and 3-T MRI for fetal imaging: is there an advantage to imaging with a higher field strength? AJR Am J Roentgenol 206:195–201CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Priego G, Barrowman NJ, Hurteau-Miller J, Miller E (2017) Does 3T fetal MRI improve image resolution of nbrain structures between 20 and 24 weeks' gestational age? AJNR Am J Neuroradiol 38:1636–1642CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Bulas D, Egloff A (2013) Benefits and risks of MRI in pregnancy. Semin Perinatol 37:301–304CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Tocchio S, Kline-Fath B, Kanal E et al (2015) MRI evaluation and safety in the developing brain. Semin Perinatol 39:73–104CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Reeves MJ, Brandreth M, Whitby EH et al (2010) Neonatal cochlear function: measurement after exposure to acoustic noise during in utero MR imaging. Radiology 257:802–809CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Strizek B, Jani JC, Mucyo E et al (2015) Safety of MR imaging at 1.5 T in fetuses: a retrospective case-control study of birth weights and the effects of acoustic noise. Radiology 275:530–537CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Yousefi J, Ajalloueyan M, Amirsalari S, Hassanali Fard M (2013) The specificity and sensitivity of transient otoacustic emission in neonatal hearing screening compared with diagnostic test of auditory brain stem response in Tehran hospitals. Iran J Pediatr 23:199–204PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Maxon AB, White KR, Behrens TR, Vohr BR (1995) Referral rates and cost efficiency in a universal newborn hearing screening program using transient evoked otoacoustic emissions. J Am Acad Audiol 6:271–277PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hille ET, van Straaten HI, Verkerk PH, Dutch NICU Neonatal Hearing Screening Working Group (2007) Prevalence and independent risk factors for hearing loss in NICU infants. Acta Paediatr 96:1155–1158CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    van Straaten HL, Hille ET, Kok JH et al (2003) Implementation of a nation-wide automated auditory brainstem response hearing screening programme in neonatal intensive care units. Acta Paediatr 92:332–338CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Partridge EA, Bridge C, Donaher JG et al (2014) Incidence and factors associated with sensorineural and conductive hearing loss among survivors of congenital diaphragmatic hernia. J Pediatr Surg 49:890–894CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Pennsylvania Department of Health (2013) Newborn hearing screening program guidelines. Pennsylvania Department of Health, Accessed 28 Feb 2018
  22. 22.
    American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2013). Expert panel recommendations on newborn hearing screening. Available from:
  23. 23.
    American Academy of Pediatrics, Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (2007) Year 2007 position statement: principles and guidelines for early hearing detection and intervention programs. Pediatrics 120:898–921CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Victoria T, Bebbington MW, Danzer E et al (2012) Use of magnetic resonance imaging in prenatal prognosis of the fetus with isolated left congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Prenat Diagn 32:715–723CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Rocha EB, Frasson de Azevedo M, Ximenes Filho JA (2007) Study of the hearing in children born from pregnant women exposed to occupational noise: assessment by distortion product otoacoustic emissions. Braz J Otorhinolaryngol 73:359–369CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Le TN, Straatman LV, Lea J, Westerberg B (2017) Current insights in noise-induced hearing loss: a literature review of the underlying mechanism, pathophysiology, asymmetry, and management options. J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 46:41CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Chen GD, Fechter LD (2003) The relationship between noise-induced hearing loss and hair cell loss in rats. Hear Res 177:81–90CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Harding GW, Bohne BA (2009) Relation of focal hair-cell lesions to noise-exposure parameters from a 4- or a 0.5-kHz octave band of noise. Hear Res 254:54–63CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Hawkins JE Jr, Johnsson LG, Stebbins WC et al (1976) Hearing loss and cochlear pathology in monkeys after noise exposure. Acta Otolaryngol 81:337–343CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Clark WW, Bohne BA (1978) Animal model for the 4-kHz tonal dip. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol Suppl 87:1–16CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Gerhardt KJ, Pierson LL, Huang X et al (1999) Effects of intense noise exposure on fetal sheep auditory brain stem response and inner ear histology. Ear Hear 20:21–32CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Gerhardt KJ, Abrams RM, Kovaz BM et al (1988) Intrauterine noise levels produced in pregnant ewes by sound applied to the abdomen. Am J Obstet Gynecol 159:228–232CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Glover P, Hykin J, Gowland P et al (1995) An assessment of the intrauterine sound intensity level during obstetric echo-planar magnetic resonance imaging. Br J Radiol 68:1090–1094CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Shellock FG, Ziarati M, Atkinson D, Chen DY (1998) Determination of gradient magnetic field-induced acoustic noise associated with the use of echo planar and three-dimensional, fast spin echo techniques. J Magn Reson Imaging 8:1154–1157CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Hattori Y, Fukatsu H, Ishigaki T (2007) Measurement and evaluation of the acoustic noise of a 3 tesla MR scanner. Nagoya J Med Sci 69:23–28PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Wessinger CM, Buonocore MH, Kussmaul CL, Mangun GR (1997) Tonotopy in human auditory cortex examined with functional magnetic resonance imaging. Hum Brain Mapp 5:18–25CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Ravicz ME, Melcher JR, Kiang NY (2000) Acoustic noise during functional magnetic resonance imaging. J Acoust Soc Am 108:1683–1696CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Gerhardt KJ, Otto R, Abrams RM et al (1992) Cochlear microphonics recorded from fetal and newborn sheep. Am J Otolaryngol 13:226–233CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Gerhardt KJ, Huang X, Arrington KE et al (1996) Fetal sheep in utero hear through bone conduction. Am J Otolaryngol 17:374–379CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Jackler RK, Luxford WM, House WF (1987) Congenital malformations of the inner ear: a classification based on embryogenesis. Laryngoscope 97:2–14CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Jeffery N, Spoor F (2004) Prenatal growth and development of the modern human labyrinth. J Anat 204:71–92CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Hanson JR, Anson BJ, Bast TH (1959) The early embryology of the auditory ossicles in man. Q Bull Northwest Univ Med Sch 33:358–379PubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Richard C, Courbon G, Laroche N et al (2017) Inner ear ossification and mineralization kinetics in human embryonic development - microtomographic and histomorphological study. Sci Rep 7:4825CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    United States Department of Labor (2018) Occupational noise exposure. In: Administration OSHA (ed). Accessed 28 Feb 2018
  45. 45.
    Wolff R, Hommerich J, Riemsma R et al (2010) Hearing screening in newborns: systematic review of accuracy, effectiveness, and effects of interventions after screening. Arch Dis Child 95:130–135CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Hyde ML, Riko K, Malizia K (1990) Audiometric accuracy of the click ABR in infants at risk for hearing loss. J Am Acad Audiol 1:59–66PubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Wroblewska-Seniuk KE, Dabrowski P, Szyfter W, Mazela J (2017) Universal newborn hearing screening: methods and results, obstacles, and benefits. Pediatr Res 81:415–422CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Akinpelu OV, Peleva E, Funnell WR, Daniel SJ (2014) Response to the letter to the editor regarding “Otoacoustic emissions in newborn hearing screening: a systematic review of the effects of different protocols on test outcomes”. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol 78:2022–2023CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Johnson JL, White KR, Widen JE et al (2005) A multicenter evaluation of how many infants with permanent hearing loss pass a two-stage otoacoustic emissions/automated auditory brainstem response newborn hearing screening protocol. Pediatrics 116:663–672CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General HospitalHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Radiology, The Children’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPerelman School of Medicine at the University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Massachusetts Eye and Ear InfirmaryBostonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Surgery, The Children’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPerelman School of Medicine at the University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

Personalised recommendations