Flying With Hearing Aids? 7 Things You Should Know

Flying with hearing aids raise many questions

If this is your first time flying with hearing aids, you probably have some questions. The answers will also serve as useful reminders if you’ve been wearing hearing aids for a while. 

When we reach a certain age, many of us discover we can’t hear all the conversation at a table in a noisy restaurant. 

Or, we might find ourselves turning up the volume on the TV to the point that it annoys the people we live with.

If you are on a tour or visiting a museum while traveling, you may not be able to hear what the guide is saying.

Some with hearing loss aren’t even aware of what they’re missing unless someone tells them. 

Although hearing aids have some limitations, they amplify sounds, help people hear, and enhance communication. They can also improve relationships with family and friends.

Should I take my hearing aids with me when I travel?

My husband often asks the same question when packing for a trip. Of course, he should bring them. 

Although, an argument could be made for leaving hearing aids at home: 

  • Hearing aids are expensive to replace if lost.
  • When traveling, they are easy to misplace or damage, leaving you without an essential communication tool. 
  • There is also some stigma attached to wearing them.

But leaving them home means missing out.

Traveling without hearing aids when you need them is somewhat akin to a person with poor vision traveling without glasses.

Do I need to remove my hearing aids when going through airport security?

According to the TSA, travelers aren’t required to remove their hearing aids (or cochlear implants). However, you should alert the security guard you are wearing them in case they set off an alarm.

Dr. Jenn Schumacher, an audiologist with ReSound, recommends reducing the volume in airports to avoid interference. 

There are no restrictions for taking hearing aid batteries through security or on the plane, either in checked or carry-on luggage. 

Should I wear my hearing aids on the plane and at the airport?

Yes.

Travelers need to be attentive to boarding announcements and gate changes at the airport. You might also need to ask someone for directions to your gate. And if you are on a long-haul flight, you’ll want to hear the menu choices. 

What hearing aid supplies should I take with me when traveling?

Take extra batteries, a cleaning kit, a storage case, and extra domes and wax guards. Carry them with you, and don’t put them in a checked bag. 

Keep your extra batteries in their original case or a battery storage case. According to Rayovac, allowing loose batteries to touch each other can cause them to short out.  

If your hearing aids are rechargeable, remember to bring your charging station and charging cable.

Depending on your destination, you might need to bring an adapter.

“If you need to charge on board, many airplanes now have electrical sockets or USB ports available at your seat,” says Schumacher. “However, be careful not to leave your charging cables and hearing aids behind when exiting the plane.” 

Should I wear my hearing aids during the flight?

Yes.

Hearing aids are small and can easily fall on the floor or between seats if taken off. If they are in your ears, you’ll know where they are.

Many travelers experience “airplane ear” when flying. This malady commonly occurs when a plane is ascending or descending. Symptoms can include pain, pressure, clogged ears, feeling like your ears are popping, and temporary hearing loss.

While people without hearing aids can use earplugs as one way to relieve the pressure in their Eustachian tubes, you should carry gum or hard candy.

Also, because engine noises may be magnified, you’ll want to adjust the volume on your hearing aids. Some hearing aids have a flight mode.

Do I have to turn off my hearing aids on a flight?

No, they are exempt from the rules for electronic devices like phones or laptops.  

Can I take advantage of inflight entertainment systems with hearing aids?

Yes.

You can keep your hearing aids in your ears and use over-the-head earphones.

If your hearing aids are connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth, you can use them while flying although you might incur roaming charges at your destination. 

Other tips for traveling with hearing aids:

  • Remember to check your hearing aids before leaving home to ensure they work properly and are charged.
  • Schumacher says you can request pre-boarding at the gate if you carry a “hearing impaired” card. 
  • One Reddit user reminded users not to inadvertently place their hearing aids on a food tray, where they can easily get lost or disposed of. 
  • For those travelers who opt for over-the-counter hearing aids, some models, like those made by JLabs, seamlessly transition between hearing aid mode and earbud mode for inflight entertainment. 
JLab Hear OTC Hearing Aid & Earbuds
JLab OTC Hearing Aid & Earbuds

“With preparation, traveling with hearing aids can be made simple,” says Schumacher. “Equipped with the knowledge and all the tools you need to care for your hearing aids on the go, you can enjoy a smooth plane journey and a well-deserved vacation.”


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2 Comments

  1. Make sure that the case you have when you remove your hearing aids is a hard shell one. On one trip, my husband had a lined soft pleather case, put it in his pocket and slept in business class only to wake up to one cracked hearing aid. Ouch!
    On another trip, he lost one (he wears in-ear aids with a little pull tab to remove them) – he thinks it happened from wearing and removing a face mask several times, probably catching the removal tab.
    If you get a new pair, also bring any old ones as spares! (luckily he had spares on both trips).

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