Airport Security and Cochlear Implants: What do I need to know?

Posted by arieswoman @arieswoman, May 23 3:38am

It is my understanding you can go through security at airports wearing your Cochlear Implant. I have read that you should not put the extra equipment in your carry on. If this is so, how does one travel with back up equipment? I would appreciate any information that is available. I read xrays will hurt your processor.

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I've done a lot of traveling since receiving a CI in 2005. I've never had a problem getting through security. Wear your processor. Same for hearing aids. Keep your extra equipment in a small bag you can carry. Open the bag and show them what it is. They should allow it to go through the check in without any Xrays. You should have a card from your implant center that states that you have a CI. I've never been asked for that, but carry it with me just in case. In any case, it's wise to be upfront about having a CI before you go through security so they know your situation. Don't wait until they detect something they weren't expecting. Happy Travels!

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@julieo4

I've done a lot of traveling since receiving a CI in 2005. I've never had a problem getting through security. Wear your processor. Same for hearing aids. Keep your extra equipment in a small bag you can carry. Open the bag and show them what it is. They should allow it to go through the check in without any Xrays. You should have a card from your implant center that states that you have a CI. I've never been asked for that, but carry it with me just in case. In any case, it's wise to be upfront about having a CI before you go through security so they know your situation. Don't wait until they detect something they weren't expecting. Happy Travels!

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Thank you for you input. I thought they made you put everything in the plastic tote on the conveyor belt. I do have a plastic card that I carry with me now always!

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I just flew last week. Didn’t give it a thought. Carried on my charger, used a HA dryer and carried that on. When I got to the gate I let them know I had a CI. They didn’t blink, just waved me through the machine.
Good luck and happy travels!

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@julieo4

I've done a lot of traveling since receiving a CI in 2005. I've never had a problem getting through security. Wear your processor. Same for hearing aids. Keep your extra equipment in a small bag you can carry. Open the bag and show them what it is. They should allow it to go through the check in without any Xrays. You should have a card from your implant center that states that you have a CI. I've never been asked for that, but carry it with me just in case. In any case, it's wise to be upfront about having a CI before you go through security so they know your situation. Don't wait until they detect something they weren't expecting. Happy Travels!

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This brings up a question about the card that a CI wearer is given. What info is on that card? Does it list the maximum field strength that can be given when you go for an MRI? I know that the newer CI's can handle stronger fields but how would the MRI tech know so they don't risk damage to the CI?
Tony in Michigan

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Good question Tony. My card doesn't give a lot of information other than that I have a CI and cannot have an MRI without the magnet being removed. It was given to me in 2005 and has not been updated. I would like to know what others have too.

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@lizzy102

I just flew last week. Didn’t give it a thought. Carried on my charger, used a HA dryer and carried that on. When I got to the gate I let them know I had a CI. They didn’t blink, just waved me through the machine.
Good luck and happy travels!

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Those are not supposed to be a problem at airports. It's the spare processor that is not supposed to be xrayed as I understand it. I have 2 processors and one is a back up that if traveling I should take with me.

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@tonyinmi

This brings up a question about the card that a CI wearer is given. What info is on that card? Does it list the maximum field strength that can be given when you go for an MRI? I know that the newer CI's can handle stronger fields but how would the MRI tech know so they don't risk damage to the CI?
Tony in Michigan

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My card is brand new and it gives the model # and serial number. It has my audiologist phone number on it. On the back it says to not put the headpiece in carry on or cargo as X-rays might damage them. So I will follow advice already given and tell TSA to hand check my spare headpiece. Not worth it's getting damages by X-rays.

I was told by my doctor that it's doubtful that an MRI would go over 5 and it would be safe to have a cat scan. Regardless these techs have the knowledge to check for a CI. My card says nothing about cat scans. Good question if one was incapacited.

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@arieswoman

My card is brand new and it gives the model # and serial number. It has my audiologist phone number on it. On the back it says to not put the headpiece in carry on or cargo as X-rays might damage them. So I will follow advice already given and tell TSA to hand check my spare headpiece. Not worth it's getting damages by X-rays.

I was told by my doctor that it's doubtful that an MRI would go over 5 and it would be safe to have a cat scan. Regardless these techs have the knowledge to check for a CI. My card says nothing about cat scans. Good question if one was incapacited.

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@arieswoman as @julieo4 mentioned, her implant cannot be subjected to MRI. Newer CI's can handle the radiation, supposedly. I understand that the only portion of the CI that needs to be removed for a MRI (IF the CI cannot withstand the MRI) is the magnet that is just under the skin. It would seem that if the audiologist doesn't answer the phone, there is another means for the MRI tech to know??? Maybe the worst that could happen is that you'd need a new magnet, which is a minor surgical procedure.
Tony in Michigan

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I had an MRI last year. Showed the techs my card and they made some phone calls. They then made a little adjustment to the machine and we proceeded.
This year, I was slated for another MRI. The techs took my card and made some phone calls. This time, the head of the MRI dept. weighed in. He said that in the last couple of months “…your particular model cochlear implant has fallen off the list for approved devices for MRI.” So, no MRI. However, I was told by another MRI department (we called around) that their department would have no problem with doing the MRI, despite the “fallen off the list” issue.
Weird!?! What’s a girl to do?
Liz

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@lizzy102

I had an MRI last year. Showed the techs my card and they made some phone calls. They then made a little adjustment to the machine and we proceeded.
This year, I was slated for another MRI. The techs took my card and made some phone calls. This time, the head of the MRI dept. weighed in. He said that in the last couple of months “…your particular model cochlear implant has fallen off the list for approved devices for MRI.” So, no MRI. However, I was told by another MRI department (we called around) that their department would have no problem with doing the MRI, despite the “fallen off the list” issue.
Weird!?! What’s a girl to do?
Liz

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Gosh that’s down right scary! Even the people who should know don’t!

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@lizzy102

I had an MRI last year. Showed the techs my card and they made some phone calls. They then made a little adjustment to the machine and we proceeded.
This year, I was slated for another MRI. The techs took my card and made some phone calls. This time, the head of the MRI dept. weighed in. He said that in the last couple of months “…your particular model cochlear implant has fallen off the list for approved devices for MRI.” So, no MRI. However, I was told by another MRI department (we called around) that their department would have no problem with doing the MRI, despite the “fallen off the list” issue.
Weird!?! What’s a girl to do?
Liz

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Interesting to say the least. I do know that a CAT scan can be done with a CI as I've had a couple of them. I was very open and upfront about having a CI with the medical personnel.

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