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Can you wear hearing aids on a plane?

25 April 2024

Posted by

Lauren Land

0330 3203 413

The answer is a resounding yes. While you may need some extra pre-planning ahead of your journey if you wear hearing aids, you can absolutely wear them on the plane. You can even wear them while going through airport security. Whether you have mild hearing loss or severe, you’ll be able to fly no problem. Because many of us experience changes with our hearing while travelling on a plane, you may be led to think that hearing aids would be similarly affected. In fact, it’s your ears themselves that are affected, not the hearing aids. Anyone can experience changes in air pressure during a flight whether you have hearing difficulties or not. So if you need hearing aids, don’t worry about issues with travelling as you can 100% wear your hearing aids while on a plane.

Can flying impact your hearing aids?

You shouldn’t experience any issues with your hearing aids themselves. Some research indicates that there could be a possibility that pressure during the flight could impact how well the batteries work, but it’s not likely that this will affect how your hearing aids work during a flight. There isn’t a risk of the hearing aids becoming damaged during pressure changes so rest assured.

Any problems that you could encounter will be down to the fitting of your hearing aid rather than the device itself. Changes in cabin pressure while taking off and landing could lead to discomfort as the pressure transfers to your eardrum. If your hearing aids have a power dome without a vent, you’re more likely to feel the effects of pressure change. In this case, you may want to remove your hearing aids during take off and landing so you can equalise your ears without difficulty. There shouldn’t be as much of a risk of pressure change during the rest of the flight so you can restore them when at top altitude.

What causes ear problems during a flight?

Our ears are sensitive to changes in pressure so it’s very common for passengers during a flight to experience hearing problems and discomfort. Ear barotrauma can be a mild case of pain which goes away on its own as the ears equalise. Sometimes, it can persist throughout the whole flight. It usually occurs when the plane climbs or descends as the air pressure changes quickly. The eustachian tube which regulates air pressure inside the ear doesn’t respond fast enough, resulting in earache, building pressure in the ear and hearing loss.

Most of the time, you can alleviate the symptoms by equalising the pressure in your ears. Pinching your nose and blowing out will help expand the space in your ears and help reduce the pressure. Yawning and swallowing also equalises your ears. Sucking on sweets during taking off and landing will also help to prevent barotrauma.

Do you need to turn off your hearing aids during a flight?

The magnetic wave that your hearing aids produce is well below the range that could interfere with the aeroplane’s equipment. You can absolutely leave your hearing aids on during the flight with no problems.

Actually, flight attendants will prefer you to keep them turned on during the flight, especially for the safety announcements. While some electrical devices will need to be switched off or turning onto flight mode, your hearing aids don’t count. You can keep them on throughout the trip. If your hearing aids have a bluetooth function, make sure that the settings are on flight mode. Not sure how to do this? Make sure you check over the user manual or give your hearing aid supplier a call for some help.

What do you need to plan for when wearing hearing aids on a plane?

It pays to prepare for your trip with some thoughtful planning. If it’s your first time travelling since having hearing aids, there are a few things that you’ll definitely consider before leaving for the airport.

Carry batteries in your hand luggage

It’s always sensible to keep spares on you. Make sure that your batteries are in their packaging so airport security can see clearly what they are. You’ll be allowed to carry batteries on the plane.

Keep your battery charger with you

If your hearing aids come with rechargeable batteries, keep the charger on you. The last thing you want is for the batteries to get low while you’re waiting for your flight.

Arrange travel insurance

We do highly recommend that you arrange for travel insurance when booking your flight. While the flight itself doesn’t pose a risk to your hearing aids, it’s always a good idea to have cover just in case your hearing aids become damaged through some other way. Make sure you double check that hearing aids are covered.

Let the staff know that you have hearing difficulties

Before you head to the airport, you should definitely check their accessibility information. Depending on your level of hearing loss, you may want to let the staff onboard the flight know so that they can make sure you’re fully informed with safety precautions in the event of an emergency. There are also extra arrangements at some airports to help you to better communicate your needs with the staff. Apps such as SignLive can really help out if you have technical difficulties with your hearing aids during travelling and need to contact someone.

Should you speak to an audiologist before travelling?

If you have hearing problems which require hearing aids, you should always speak to an audiologist before exposing your ears to changes in air pressure. While there is almost certainly not going to be an issue, it’s peace of mind for both you and your audiologist to carry out maintenance checks on your hearing aids first. Arranging for a hearing test before you travel will also allow you to go through any setting changes needed for the flight.

You can walk into any of our clinics and ask for some advice about flying with hearing aids. At Sussex Audiology Centre, our team of audiologists are more than happy to help. If you’ve just returned from holiday and experienced hearing problems or discomfort on the flight, contact us right away. It could simply be a matter where you need some ear wax removed, but you should get in touch and we can look into the issue.

To find out more about our hearing aid services, you can contact us on 0330 3203 413
or use our contact form to send us any questions.

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