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Flying abroad - Hearing aids V Cochlear implant

Posted Oct 14 2009 10:02pm
This is something that most of us have been wondering what to do when going to the airport. Most of us have some frustrating time when going to the airport or the lack of entertainment on the flight. I was thinking about how I have compared hearing aids and cochlear implant. How are they any difference to each other? I decided to look back to my upbringing being a hearing user and often go abroad every now and then. I have now able to say that I have experience the journey with cochlear implant for the first time. Of course, the first time is nerve wrecking as the thought of having metal head is going to set off the security. Will it damage our programs? Will it hurt? Will we be arrested for having a microchip in our head that may hold important information to terrorist? Ok I may go over the top on the last bit but this could happen in the future!!

Anyway, I have been going through some notes to compare which device is useful in certain areas.

Checking in – to inform the cabin staff to be aware of hearing impaired abroad.

Most people know what hearing aids are and they can be visual able to other depend on amount of hair you have and how you wear them.

Cochlear implant - this is still new to some people who may not seen or heard of it. Although, the staff at the airport, have been trained to know what the cochlear implant are and what to do when there is any problem.


Security department –

Hearing aids - no need to worry about going through the security door. Some hearing aids do set off the beep

Cochlear implant – must have ID to show that you have cochlear implant. Some people have advised me to show the Id and take off the implant to show them to make them aware. But I found its best to show the card and not take off the processor, as I may need to hear what was going on. Especially when travelling alone.
Once showed the ID, you would go around the door and get body search by the staff.

In-flight entertainment – Some planes don’t provide closed caption for popular movie in English but they do provide subtitles for foreign films. I was on Emirates and I was impressed with choices!

Hearing aids - unable to use own headphone (shoe and lead to connect to in-flight headphone plug) unable to hear through the headphone. Painful ear aches due to ear mould. Had to take off the hearing aids to ease the pain. Everything sounds very loud. With no subtitles on movies, it’s easy to get bored so bring book!

Cochlear implant - able to use the headphone the plane provided, no pain in ears. Can feel the air pressure! Staff able to hear me at reasonable level. (with hearing aids I thought it was loud but I always speak quietly when it’s loud)


Long haul journey, rechargeable battery – take spare with you at all time and save power when not in use.


Its really interesting to see the difference!

By the way, I am in Dubai while waiting for the next flight to Auckland.

Happy reading while I am flying!

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