Volume 110, Issue 6, December 2001
Index of content:
- NOISE: ITS EFFECTS AND CONTROL 
Active control of the volume acquisition noise in functional magnetic resonance imaging: Method and psychoacoustical evaluation110(2001); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.1408948View Description Hide Description
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) provides a noninvasive tool for observing correlates of neural activity in the brain while a subject listens to sound. However, intense acoustic noise is generated in the process of capturing MRimages. This noise stimulates the auditory nervous system, limiting the dynamic range available for displaying stimulus-driven activity. The noise is potentially damaging to hearing and is distracting for the subject. In an active noise control(ANC) system, a reference sample of a noise is processed to form a sound which adds destructively with the noise at the listener’s ear. We describe an implementation of ANC in the electromagnetically hostile and physically compact MRI scanning environment. First, a prototype system was evaluated psychoacoustically in the laboratory, using the electrical drive to a noise-generating loudspeaker as the reference. This system produced 10–20 dB of subjective noise-reduction between 250 Hz and 1 kHz, and smaller amounts at higher frequencies. The system was modified to operate in a real MRscanner where the reference was obtained by recording the acoustic scannernoise. Objective reduction by 30–40 dB of the most intense component in scannernoises was realized between 500 Hz and 3500 Hz, and subjective reduction of 12 dB and 5 dB in tests at frequencies of 600 Hz and at 1.9 kHz, respectively. Although the benefit of ANC is limited by transmission paths to the cochlea other than air-conduction routes from the auditory meatus, ANC achieves worthwhile attenuation even in the frequency range of maximum bone conduction (1.5–2 kHz). ANC should, therefore, be generally useful during auditory fMRI.