OBJECTIVES: Visualization of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) activation of subcortical auditory structures remains challenging because of the cardiac-related pulsatile movement of both the brainstem and the cerebrospinal fluid and involved, until now, special scanning, pre- and postprocessing techniques, which are not convenient in clinical settings. The aim of this study is to examine the activation in both cortical and subcortical auditory structures by means of an fMRI paradigm, which is suitable for clinical use. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty subjects (13 volunteers and 7 patients) were examined on a 3 T imaging system with binaural musical stimulation. RESULTS: Both cortical and subcortical auditory structures are successfully visualized in volunteers and patients. CONCLUSIONS: Activation of both the cortical and subcortical auditory structures can be visualized by means of an appropriate fMRI setup at 3 T. This paradigm can easily be used in patients with tumors and/or hearing disorders.