Travel Tips for Hearing Aid or Cochlear Implant Users

Couple travelling looking at a lake

One major concern people have when they are about to take a flight with their new hearing aids or cochlear implant is “can I wear hearing aids on an airplane”? This question is often times not addressed with new users of hearing aids, and if you get to the airport and realize you haven't asked, it can cause some concern.

The good news is, there is usually no problem with wearing hearing aids or cochlear implants on an airplane.

The best and safest way to travel on a plane with your hearing aids and/or cochlear implant is to wear them.

Not only will this help to ensure that they are not lost in misplaced luggage, but you will be able to better hear the safety instructions of the airline and security personnel, as well as notifications about gate changes or flight delays.

At Security Checkpoints

It may be helpful to notify the TSA security officer that you have a hearing loss and are wearing hearing technology. This way, they will be aware of any anomalies that may show up on the security screen and will facilitate communication with the officials. You can use this downloadable TSA notification card to discreetly notify the officer of your hearing loss.

The X-rays, metal detectors, full-body, and hand-held scanners will not affect your hearing aids or cochlear implant. However, the walk-through metal detectors may cause you to hear a distorted sound when walking through the scanner. You may choose to turn down the volume on your device before entering the scanner to reduce the annoying sound.

If you are bringing a spare cochlear implant processor with you on your trip, it is best to put it in your carry-on bag, in the CI case, turned off, with the battery out. It is better to keep it in your carry-on rather than checked luggage because the machine can be much stronger on the checked luggage scanner and may affect map settings.

Preparing For Your Flight

If you are concerned about whether you will hear the announcements at your gate, you should let the flight attendant at the gate know that you have a hearing loss. You may also want to sign-up for cell phone text alerts to inform you of any gate changes, delays, or boarding calls.

On The Airplane

There are currently no restrictions which will not allow you to wear your hearing aids or cochlear implants on a plane, even with wireless technology. However, if you also use an additional FM assistive listening device, that should be turned off during the flight.

Hearing aids and cochlear implants will not interfere with a plane's navigation system so you can keep them on for the entire flight, even take-off and landing.

FM systems are equipped with both a transmitter and receiver and fall under the same restrictions during flight as a cell phone. Keep your hearing aids on, but turn off your FM system device.

Many hearing aid users find that the airplane noise is loud and bothersome, especially if you are sitting over the wing or near the rear of the plane. For this reason, you may decide to turn your hearing aids down or use a pre-set noise reduction program. If you have a remote control, you can use this to make adjustments to your hearing aids during the flight. If you are not sure whether your hearing aid has a noise reduction program, ask your hearing healthcare provider prior to your flight. They may be able to set that up for you if not already in use.

If traveling alone, you should let the flight attendant know that you have a hearing loss, in the event of emergency announcements.

If you remove your hearing aids during the flight, to watch a movie or listen to music, make sure you turn them off and safely put them in your carry-on bag so they are not lost or damaged.

Don't put them in the seat pocket or clothing pockets where they can be forgotten or fall out. When your flight is over, make sure you have all your hearing equipment before de-planing!

Traveling can be a exciting but also stressful. Using hearing technology should not add to the stress. Follow these simple tips and you will enjoy your flight and your trip!

Book a hearing consultation for free today and speak to a qualified hearing consultant. They'll be able to provide you with tailored recommendations based on your hearing test results.

Lindsey Banks is a graduate of the Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) program at the University of Florida. She uses her diverse experience in hearing healthcare and her passion for helping people to provide credible information to those with hearing loss who visit Clear Living.

18 Comments
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  • Ellen Metz
    I wish I knew of what you said was really true from an audiologist or a doctor. before getting on a plane & having my hearing aids in my purse which would be going through the conveyer belt.
    • Lindsey Banks
      Putting your hearing aids in your pursue and having them go through the scanner at the airport should not cause any problems. However, the best option would be to wear the hearing aids while going through security.
  • Maureen
    I am suspicious about my hearing aids being a affected by electronics when flying. I have just done 2 overseas flights in a month and both times one of my hearing aids have gone dead. I had to have receiver replaced and now I think the same Had happened? Resound Aids any help?
    • Lindsey Banks
      You should be wearing them when you go through airport security. Do not put them on the security conveyor belt or in the plastic bins. Doing so could cause static electricity in the devices and damage them.
  • Val
    Most helpful advice-thank you.
  • Ariel
    What about work abroad using hearing aid..because I have hearing disability...that's why I use hearing aid..can I do that?...if it's not danger for work abroad?
  • Bruce
    Thanks a Bunch ! It was VERY useful, being able to read all the Assessments of Travellers with Hearing loss. I have never worn my H/Aids, on the short Domestic Flights within New Zealand, where I live. I am going to Texas in April 2019, and from the Comments fro the Folks on this Forum, I think I shall carry my H/Aids in a small Carry-Box in my pocket.....I can pull out oune or both very quickly and put them in , or take them out. Obviously I shall swing the Battery Compartment to the "Open" position, B 4 boarding the Planes involved. Thanks again for the opportunity to read all the Comments ...Nice One ! ...Cheers, Bruce G.