Cochlear Implants and MRI

Radiologists weigh in on the importance of magnet removal for cochlear implant recipients needing an MRI.

Radiologists are medical doctors who specialise in diagnosing diseases and injuries using a range of imaging techniques one of which is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

What is an MRI?

An MRI is a diagnostic tool to obtain images of organs and tissues using a very powerful magnetic field measured in tesla (T). MRIs can range in strength from 0.2 T to 7.0 T, with 1.5 T being the most common. 9 out of 10 radiologists believe that MRIs will get even stronger in the future1. However, industry research suggests 1.5 T will remain the standard for routine MRI for years to come.

Safety concerns for medical implants and MRI.

Due to the powerful magnetic field, medical implants with metallic or ferromagnetic components such as pacemakers, defibrillators, catheters, pumps and cochlear implants can create problems for MRIs. The risks include the potential for device repositioning that may cause injury or pain and also distort the image3,4.

Cochlear implants and MRI compatibility.

A cochlear implant is a medical treatment for moderately severe to profound hearing loss. Inside each cochlear implant is a magnet.

To ensure MRI compatibility for cochlear implant recipients the Cochlear™ Nucleus® Implant System contains a removable magnet. Cochlear was the first to introduce this key safety feature nearly two decades ago. The magnet is easy to remove and replace if needed. In the rare case that a recipient needs serial MRIs, a no-magnet option is available. The importance of this design feature is reinforced by radiologists.

Cochlear Nucleus implants are also approved for routine (1.5 T) MRI with magnet in place and 3.0 T with magnet removed, should your doctor specifically recommend this procedure5.

Cochlear Nucleus Implants are designed for safety.

For over 30 years, Cochlear Implants have helped more than 400,000 people around the world to hear better than they could, even with the most advanced hearing aids. For nearly two decades, the Cochlear Nucleus System has included a removable magnet to ensure recipient safety and comfort in the rare case an MRI is needed and an alternative is not an option. Additionally, the most recent advances in the Cochlear Nucleus 6 Sound Processor provide unprecedented hearing even in the most challenging listening environments, like noisy restaurants, and the ability to wirelessly connect to mobile phones, televisions and music players6.

Cochlear's removable magnet is the gold standard for MRI.
Our lifetime commitment to innovative solutions for recipients means you can count on us to Hear now. And always.




Please seek advice from your medical practitioner or health professional about treatments for hearing loss. They will be able to advise on a suitable solution for the hearing loss condition. All products should be used only as directed by your medical practitioner or health professional. 

Not all products are available in all countries. Please contact your local Cochlear representative.


  1. Radiology Poll conducted by Penn, Schoen, Berland, August 2015. Data on File. (Survey sponsored by Cochlear)
  4. Bo Gyung Kim, MD, PhD1; Jin Won Kim, MD2; Jeong Jin Park, MD2; Sung Huhn Kim, MD, PhD2; Hee Nam Kim, MD, PhD3; Jae Young Choi, MD, PhD2, (2015) Adverse Events and Discomfort During Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Cochlear Implant Recipients, JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2015;141(1):45-52. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2014.2926.
  5. Cochlear Nucleus implants are approved for routine (1.5T) MRI with magnet in place by TUV and TGA. Not approved by the FDA.
  6. Wolfe J, Morais Duke M, Schafer E. Improving hearing performance in Cochlear™ Nucleus® 6 users with True Wireless Accessories. Denver: Cochlear Americas; 2015.