Audio Samples

Sample Sounds of the MRI Scanner

Recorded these for a guy here at the University, but there’s nothing proprietary about them, so hey, let’s share?

[audio:|titles=BIDE|artists=MRI Scanner]‘BIDE’
[audio:|titles=DTI|artists=MRI Scanner]Diffusion Tensor Imaging
[audio:|titles=FLAIR|artists=MRI Scanner]Fluid Attenuation Inversion Recovery
[audio:|titles=GRADIENT|artists=MRI Scanner]Gradient
[audio:|titles=KISS|artists=MRI Scanner] K.I.S.S.
[audio:|titles=MP-RAGE|artists=MRI Scanner]R.A.G.E.
[audio:|titles=T1|artists=MRI Scanner]T1
[audio:|titles=T2|artists=MRI Scanner] T2

All files here.

40 replies on “Sample Sounds of the MRI Scanner”

I don’t have any more scanner sounds right now. They do pretty much make the same sounds.

Thank you so so much for having these! I have been looking everywhere for decent sound clips to have our study subjects listen to before having their scans. You just made my life so much easier.

As a follow-up, would it be possible to get the actual mp3 files? If not that’s fine and I can just bookmark your page. But if possible, having the files would be pretty fabulous.

Yes I saw that. I was hoping for actual download-able files that I could make a play-list for our research subjects to listen to while they practice doing some of the tasks they will be performing during the fMRI scan session of our study. We would like to do this in *hopes* of somewhat reducing brain activity due to the novelty of the fMRI sounds.

OK Dawn, I see what you’re saying. As it happens, if you Right-Mouse-Click (PC) or Ctrl-Mouse-Click (Mac) on each of those files in that directory you can either copy the URL for that file, or save it to your computer (save as…). I guess I forget not everyone know that kind of business. So here are the actual URLS for the files. Just cut and paste these URLS into a text file and save it with the file extention m3u, and you can play it in Windows Media Player or ITunes or Winamp, etc.

It works! I actually just had a subject listen to the files and it went beautifully.

Thanks so much for the help. I greatly appreciate it!

I just had an MRI for the first time yesterday — and I loved the sounds! Reminded me of heavy metal music. Thank you for the recordings.

Just had one the other day – they are without doubt the most unpleasant sounds, I shall enjoy turning base metal into gold with Pauls Stretch. Thankyou.

If done properly, it’s not so bothersome. Unfortunately, my first one was in a mobile (the device is in a 53-foot trailer) w/no music, voice or anxiety med – all I could hear was the bong, bong, bong, bing, bing, bing and all could see peripherally was the back trailer door. This was compounded by the fact that I was in it for 2 1/2 hours (pulled me out once to put in contrast – was a MRSA abscess in my spine that ran from L1 down to tailbone in the end). Probably wouldn’t have been as bad if when they finally took me out, they weren’t all in a panic seeing something they’d never seen before and then rushed me straight to the trauma room in the ER at the hosp. next door w/out telling me anything. Was then rushed to one of the closest trauma centers (wanted to fly me in helo, but wx didn’t allow).

I’ve had 3 more since (plus a nuclear scan and a couple CTs). Incredible difference when one gets an anxiety med first and music to distract and voices – as well as open space peripherally – I have another one this week due to shifts in pain, but know it won’t be close to that 1st one.

Jean, I’ve been through several MRIs and the scanner is not so loud as to damage your hearing.

You can ask for a Valium or other tranquilizer before the scan, and I highly recommend it. My worst experience was when I had a painful infection in my elbow, and they put me in an uncomfortable position and said ‘don’t move’ — and I was in the scanner for 45 minutes.

Despite that horror story, it usually isn’t unpleasant, just long and boring, and loud. I advise tranquilizers and earplugs — if you’re lucky you can sleep through it.

So how did you make these recordings? I’ve been told that there can not be any metal objects in the room with the scanner, such as recorders, mics, etc. because it messes with the magnetic thing. Is that true? Or just something they tell you because they don’t want to deal with someone making recordings?

Anything made of magnetizable metal is definitely a problem around an MRI Scanner. But magnetic fields follow the inverse square law, meaning the field strength falls off very quickly with distance. We fed a microphone (a Shure Beta 58A, coincidentally a microphone once used by Thom Yorke at Launch Studios in LA) through a cable port between the control room and the MRI room, and set the mic on a non-metallic table inside the MRI room. It didn’t get sucked into the scanner.

I wanna research about my project about MRI sound but I don’t know your sound that you recorded is real or not and who you recoreded that?! please tell me. thanks a lot

Those are real MRI sounds, and they were recorded at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

I actually don’t have the original wav files. From an information-theoretical point of view, any difference between the original WAV files and the MP3 files is well down in the noise floor. To get better recordings, it would require better microphones, preamps and converters than I have access to.

Thank you very much for sharing these audio files. I will use them to make a prep book (short for preparation) so that child life staff may ease the anxiety and discomfort of children about to undergo MRI scans. The materials I produce for child life, including this one, are on a volunteer basis and there is never a fee for any of the services or products delivered. Thank you once again for your generosity for the children.

Wow! Great recordings. Thanks!
My wife has never experienced an MRI, and neither had I before today. I tried to mimic for her some of the sounds which I remembered. She knows now that I was not exaggerating; these recordings are indeed faithful.
The effect upon me of the MRI was …. stunning; during the session I developed a very mild frontal lobe headache, I suspect from tension of a startle response.
Interestingly, my MRI was to detect a possible auditory neuroma, so the energy was, of course, focused upon my … ears.
Karlheinz Stockhausen would have been at least impressed, and more likely, fascinated; and, I suspect, would have programmed an MRI for effect, had he the opportunity.

The sound of the scanner never bothered me; once you’ve listened to Throbbing Gristle at top volume and found a way to enjoy it, something like a MRI scanner is almost soothing.

My experience with MRIs is that the primary annoyance for me was getting very slightly cooked by the magnetic field. The FDA allows the scanner to raise your body temperature by one degree (F or C I forget), so in effect the machine gives you a fever.

As with the old band printers, as soon as a hacker was left alone with an MRI scanner, they programmed it to play music. I imagine if you google “MRI Music” you’ll find some examples.

Hi Kent,

I’m writting to you since I’m using a bit of the fMRI sounds you shared for everyone in a soundscape for a dance performance in San Francisco. I’d like to credit you for it so wondered if you want to have your real name or Charicrusher in the text.

And I do hope it’s fine with you I used the sounds now that you openly wrote that it’s free for sharing and use?


Hi there. I am trying to mix a few of sounds you recorded with other audio. This is for a research project purpose. So I really appreciate your recording. May I ask, what is the acronym BIDE comes from? It stands for what I mean. I actually search it but could not find any. Anyhow thank you for the recording.

Alright. It’s okay. I finally discovered the acronym is actually stand for what. It is Bi-Directional Extension (BIDE). But dont know why people call it that way. Thanks a lot. I have just submitted my research project (using a mixed audio-your MRI noise with some background music) last April.

Hey – how did you get these? What kind of microphone? Had an mri yesterday and it was incredible

I actually recorded them for the University of Iowa Radiology department with a laptop and a condensor microphone.

I don’t know exactly what model. It’s been a while since I made that recording. You could look up Vincent Magnotta in the University of Iowa Department of Radiology, he would know.

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