Getting ready to travel? People often ask us if an airport security scanner will affect their cochlear implant or bone conduction implant. While your sound processor may beep when you walk through security or a hand-held security wand passes over it, this won’t affect your implant or processor. Read on for five tips for getting through airport security with a hearing implant.
Many of us are starting to travel again but if it’s been a while since your last trip, it’s easy to forget the routines at the airport. With these quick tips, you don’t need to worry about getting through airport security with your cochlear implant or bone conduction solution.
- Check the rules about batteries
- Airlines are becoming increasingly strict about carrying lithium ion battery cells on passenger planes. Contact your airline before you travel to check their policy and if you can take them in carry-on or checked luggage.
- If possible and suitable for your processor, we suggest you travel with back-up zinc air batteries and a battery holder in case you need them.
- Show your Patient Identification Card to security officers
- If you have a cochlear implant or Baha® or Osia® System, show security your Patient Identification Card and explain that you have an implanted medical device for hearing. If you are a Cochlear Family member you can also create your own membership card that includes TSA information on the back.
- Tell them the sound processor is a hearing device you must wear with your medical hearing implant.
- If you have the Baha System, bring your MRI card. You can show this to security personnel if they have questions about your sound processor, as it also contains information about security controls.
- Passing through airport security
- You don’t have to remove your cochlear implant or Osia Sound Processor during security screening. You can walk through the metal detectors and full body scanners with your sound processor turned on. However, to avoid any potential buzzing sounds as you pass through, you may wish to remove your sound processor.
- For Baha System users, in most cases you will not need to remove your sound processor to go through metal or security detectors. If you have a Baha Connect System, you may wish to remove your Baha sound processor to avoid setting off the metal detectors in airport security controls. If you use a Baha Start solution or the Baha Attract System, you can keep your sound processor in place.
- Don’t be alarmed if you need a pat-down or scan
- If travelling though the US, you may need additional screening, including a pat-down or inspection of your device, if it alarms the walk-through metal detector or advanced imaging technology.
- Don’t worry if security uses a handheld wand to screen you. The wand won’t damage your cochlear implant or bone conduction implant, but it will beep when it passes over your sound processor.
- Keep your spare sound processor in your carry-on luggage
- Switch off your spare sound processor if you have one. Keep it inside a case in your carry-on bag and place the bag onto the conveyer belt at airport security.
- Never place your sound processor directly onto a conveyer belt: static electricity may build up on its surface and damage your sound processor.
- A low-level x-ray is used to screen carry-on luggage. The x-ray should not harm your sound processor or your MAP/program.
- Never put your spare sound processor into checked baggage as this could expose it to damaging x-rays. Checked baggage is screened with a higher level x-ray compared to carry-on luggage.