Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Safety and travel advice

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Flying with a Cochlear Implant

Do I have to take off my sound processor/s when going through airport security?

No. Metal detectors and security scanners should not damage the implant or sound processor. However, when passing through security metal detectors and scanners the alarm may activate. If the alarm is activated, security may then use a handheld wand to screen you. The wand will not harm your cochlear implant, but it will beep when it passes over your sound processor. It is a good idea to let security staff know that you have an implanted medical device for hearing and carry your 'Patient Identification Card'.

You may hear a distorted sound caused by the magnetic field around the security scanner door or hand-held scanning wand. Turning the sound processor volume down (or switching it off) before passing through security screening will ensure that those sounds, if they occur, are not too loud or uncomfortable.

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What should I do with my holiday loan sound processor when I fly?

Switch your loan processor off, keep it inside a carry-on bag and place the bag onto the conveyer belt at airport security. Never place your processor directly onto a conveyer belt, as static electricity may build up on its surface and corrupt the settings. The x-ray machine should not affect your programme when the processor is turned off.

A low-level X-ray is used to screen carry-on luggage. The X-ray will not harm your processor or the programmes. Never put your loan processor into checked baggage as this could expose it to damaging X-rays.

Note for Advanced Bionics Users: X-ray machines have the potential to damage the microphones on the processor. Thus the loan processor and any spare microphones (for example a T-mic) should be worn through the metal detector/scanner or examined by hand.

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Should I tell anyone on board the plane about my cochlear implant or my hearing loss?

Let your flight attendant know that you have a hearing loss. That way, if there is an emergency, they will know you might not hear everything on the overhead speakers. (It can be difficult for even people with normal hearing to understand everything spoken over the inflight speaker systems, so it's best to let the flight attendant know about your hearing loss. This way, they can get emergency information directly to you if needed.)

Holiday loan processors

A holiday loan processor can be arranged directly through your implant manufacturer.

Cochlear

Advanced Bionics

Med-EL

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