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Audeze and SMRT Image announce breakthrough headphones to improve patient comfort during MR scans

Press releases may be edited for formatting or style | August 02, 2021 MRI
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Over the years Audeze, whose R&D and manufacturing center is based in Orange County, CA, has developed award-winning Planar headphones coveted highly by musicians, sound engineers, and audiophiles for their high quality sound. Audeze is launching a new series of Electrostatic headphones called CRBN.

Prof. Mark S. Cohen Ph.D., UCLA Depts of Psychiatry, Neurology Radiology, Psychology, Biomedical Physics and BioEngineering, is a pioneer in the field of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and neuroscience. He is also the Co-Founder and Chief Scientist at SMRT Image where he is helping to solve some of the most challenging patient comfort problems with MRI.

Working with Dr. Cohen and his team at SMRT Image, Audeze helped develop new headphones that alleviate many of the acoustic issues associated with MRI testing.

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The problem:

Patient anxiety and discomfort due to noise and claustrophobia are significant challenges in MRI. In such exams, when patients do not remain still, motion artifacts often degrade the images and can even make the scans unusable for diagnostic purposes. Stress and anxiety can cause patients to abort a scan, or to refuse studies altogether. MRI machines are extremely loud: their sound pressure levels can exceed 120 dB, similar to a jack hammer a few feet away.

MRI machines are by nature an exceptionally hostile environment for any electronics. They require enormous magnetic and electrical fields to make their medical images. Further, MRI scans are highly sensitive to electrical noise, which can compromise image quality. Because of this, any headphones used inside the scanners must be devoid of any ferrous materials. Moreover, eddy currents can also be induced in metal parts, creating image quality problems.

CRBN Headphones:

Audeze created a new transducer technology, from the ground up, to eliminate the problems with use in MRI. Starting with a patented thin-film diaphragm with embedded Carbon Nanotubes that provide an ideal environment for electrostatic charge, the headphones use electrostatic force to create sound. This design solves many of the inherent issues with coated diaphragms that have been used in previous electrostatic speaker designs over the last century.

Coping with the Noise:

Acoustic noise cancellation (ANC) works by creating a signal that is opposite to the noise signal. To cancel the extremely high levels of noise in the MRI units, Audeze team created very high SPL transducers that are also very accurate; a critical requirement for effective ANC.

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