Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has made a major contribution to the understanding of higher brain function, but fMRI with auditory stimulation, used in the planning of brain tumor surgery, is often inaccurate because there is a risk that the sounds used in the trial may not be correctly transmitted to the subjects due to acoustic noise. This prompted us to devise a method of digitizing sound transmission ability from the accuracy rate of 67 syllables, classified into three types. We evaluated this with and without acoustic noise during imaging. We also improved the structure of the headphones and compared their sound transmission ability with that of conventional headphones attached to an MRI device (a GE Signa HDxt 3.0 T). We calculated and compared the sound transmission ability of the conventional headphones with that of the improved model. The 95 percent upper confidence limit (UCL) was used as the threshold for accuracy rate of hearing for both headphone models. There was a statistically significant difference between the conventional model and the improved model during imaging (p < 0.01). The rate of accuracy of the improved model was 16 percent higher. 29 and 22 syllables were accurate at a 95% UCL in the improved model and the conventional model, respectively. This study revealed the evaluation system used in this study to be useful for correctly identifying syllables during fMRI.
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