If you’re traveling this holiday season, and concerned about the new scanning protocol interacting with your hearing instruments, don’t fret! Research has been released that x-ray inspection and walk-through metal detectors have no effect on hearing devices including hearing aids, cochlear implants, external component of cochlear implants, and middle ear implants.
Here are some suggestions from the Hearing Review on how to best work with TSA if you have a hearing loss:
- If you need to communicate with the security officer, inform her/him of your disability and the way in which you can communicate. TSA security officers are trained to provide whatever assistance they can to persons with hearing disabilities.
- If the screening process is unclear to you, motion to the Security Officer that you can’t hear and ask him/her to ask the security officer to write the information down.
- If you can read lips or are hard of hearing, ask the Security Officer to look directly at you and repeat the information slowly.
- It is not necessary to remove hearing aids or the exterior component of a cochlear implant at security checkpoints.
- It is best if you wear your hearing device while going through the metal detector.
- According to otolaryngologist and otolaryngology surgeons, hearing devices such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, external component of cochlear implants, and middle ear implants are not affected by x-ray inspection or walk-through metal detector screening. In addition, these devices may also safely be screened using Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT).
- If you are concerned or uncomfortable with going through the walk-thorough metal detector, or are uneasy with having your external component of your cochlear implant x-rayed, you can ask for a full body pat-down of your person and a visual and physical inspection of the exterior component while it remains on your body.
- Assistive listening devices must undergo x-ray screening.
- If you use a hearing dog, you and the dog will remain together at all times while going through the security checkpoint. See the “Service Animal” section for more tips on service animals in the screening process.
Happy and safe travels this holiday season!