Patients who have implanted medical devices with long conductive leads are often restricted from receiving MRI scans due to the danger of RF-induced heating near the lead tips. Phantom studies have shown that this heating varies significantly on a case-by-case basis, indicating that many patients with implanted devices can receive clinically useful MRI scans without harm. However, the difficulty of predicting RF-induced lead tip heating prior to scanning prevents numerous implant recipients from being scanned. Here, we demonstrate that thermo-acoustic ultrasound (TAUS) has the potential to be utilized for a pre-scan procedure assessing the risk of RF-induced lead tip heating in MRI. A system was developed to detect TAUS signals by four different TAUS acquisition methods. We then integrated this system with an MRI scanner and detected a peak in RF power absorption near the tip of a model lead when transmitting from the scanner's body coil. We also developed and experimentally validated simulations to characterize the thermo-acoustic signal generated near lead tips. These results indicate that TAUS is a promising method for assessing RF implant safety, and with further development, a TAUS pre-scan could allow many more patients to have access to MRI scans of significant clinical value.