How to Overcome Photophobia while Taking a MRI Exam


A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine assists doctors with diagnosing conditions and evaluating injuries. It gives you a visual of your internal organs. However, if you have photophobia, then you may have problems sitting through this test. MRI machines can be noisy because of its magnetic field. This magnetic field is created from an electrical current running through a coiled wire. Read on to find out how to overcome photophobia.

What is Photophobia?

Some people are afraid to get an MRI because the machine makes noises. Phonophobia is a type of phobia that occurs when someone has an aversion or fear to loud sounds. It also causes you to have a fear of voices or one’s own voice.

Photophobia is very rare and usually a symptom of hyperacusis. Hyperacusis is a severe hearing disorder that causes an increased sensitivity to different ranges of sound.

Ask about an Open MRI Machine

If you need further testing to diagnose a condition, then you should ask your doctor about using an open MRI machine. A magnetic resonance imaging exam does not use radiation or x-ray. It uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to collect information about your tissues and organs.

A traditional MRI machine has a cylinder shape. On the other hand, an open MRI does completely encompass your body. It usually has openings with only part of the body in the machine. An open exam has lower noise levels, less confining and a more relaxed environment.

Talk to Your Technician

The sound levels go up and down with this exam. You will be given a set of headphones to wear. The headphones give you a line communication to the technician operating the machine. Your technician will walk you through the steps and answer any questions. If you want to stay calm, then you may want to make small talk. You can talk about your children or job. Talking will take your mind off the exam.

It is important face your fears head on. If you need a special type of machine because of your phobia, then your doctor can refer you to the right facility.

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