The last time I’ve talked about hearing aids and airports has been a few years ago and still, traveling and flying with hearing aids remains to be one of the most frequently asked questions whenever I read patient’s emails.
Too often, people refrain from traveling via air after they’ve started using hearing aids because they’re worrying about whether they would be asked to take it off to pass airport security. Some simply think that flying with hearing aids can pose a lot of inconveniences and thus, leading to them missing out on some beautiful life experiences such as going on a cruise or visiting family far away.
Things have progressed a lot these days. In fact, hearing aid wearers can enjoy family vacations, tours, and more! They just have to know how to protect and maintain their hearing aids while traveling so that they can continue enjoying a world full of vibrant sounds while away from home. Below are more information on how you can enjoy flying with hearing aids in style!
Before Travel Preparations
Going to an unfamiliar place is exciting, but it can quickly turn into a nightmare if you’re suddenly without a functioning hearing aid. Making sure that you have everything you may need before your trip can save you from a lot of hassle. Before hitting the road, check if you have the following for your hearing device:
- Charger or replacement batteries.
- Extra attachable accessories such as soft domes, sports clip, audio shoe, or extra tubing.
- Dehumidifier – if you’re not using a charger with a drying function.
- Cleaning equipment needed to maintain your hearing aid in tip-top shape.
- Wireless or remote accessories needed to connect your hearing aid to other devices.
- A cellphone that is compatible with your hearing device.
- An airline approved carry-on case for all your hearing aid-related paraphernalia.
Once you have everything ready, you’ll then have to prepare yourself for what to expect when going through airport security.
Airports and Hearing Aids
Airport Security Screening: You can certainly wear your hearing aid through airport inspection, but you must notify the airport’s security officer that you are wearing it before screening starts. This is because some hearing aids may show up as anomalies on the imaging technology that airport security uses, plus, may also trigger the metal detector. If that happens, you will need to be subjected to additional screening such as manual inspection which can be inconvenient for you.
Airport Devices: You’ll be glad to know that common airport security devices such as full body scanners, walk through metal detectors, x-rays, and hand-held detection devices do not affect hearing aids. With that said, some metal detectors may cause you to hear some unpleasant sounds so decreasing the volume on your device might help.
Airport Document: There is usually no need to bring a proof of medical documentation for hearing loss; however, having one can prove to be useful for you to effectively communicate your situation to a security officer (more so in a foreign country). The good news is that the TSA has a downloadable notification card that you can fill in and use to fulfill such a purpose.
To Wear or Not to Wear
Should you choose not to wear your hearing aid and simply keep it in your bag or carry-on luggage, some TSA security officer may find it necessary to inspect it, more so if it’s presence was not declared. For people with hearing impairment, it would be better to simply wear the hearing aid to prevent mishaps like losing them in your luggage and to help you hear boarding announcements and safety instructions while traveling.
Flying with Hearing Aids
Yes, you can fly with your hearing aid! Hearing aids and pacemakers are not subject to the same rules regarding the use of portable electronic devices on airplanes because they do not give off signals (unlike phones) that might interfere with aircraft controls, therefore, you are free to use your hearing aid in-flight. You do have to turn off your device’s FM assistive listening device during the flight because it falls under the same restrictions as mobile phones. It would also be a great idea to use your device’s pre-set noise reduction program to reduce in-flight noises that your device may pick up. If you’re not sure whether your device has this, go ahead and ask your hearing doctor before your flight. Sometimes all it needs is to be properly set-up and voila, perfect hearing!
Don’t be shy about telling the flight attendants (and the person seated next to you) that you have a hearing impairment. You won’t want to be the last to know in case there are emergency announcements!
Have fun, be safe, and savor all the exciting (and stressful!) experiences you can get from traveling. Remember, your hearing aid is there to help you get more out of life. Follow the tips and suggestions in this article and you’ll surely love your trip! Cheers!
Need more help regarding flying with hearing aids? Then contact Atlanta Hearing Doctor today! With us, AudigyCertified hearing health care is just an email or a phone call away!