Lipreading Practice

A hiccup following my flight

My experience of air travel in January 2020

This is my experience following a long-haul flight. Although I was in business class, I was sitting on the window side and next to the engine. I think that this affected my cochlear and my balance – it may affect people with hearing aids too. The advice given to me was to sit in the main body of the aircraft where I would have less noise and vibration. I haven’t tried this yet. Always seek professional advice if you experience any problems as they could be something more serious. It is better to be safe than sorry. I hope you don’t experience this but also hope this information may be useful to you.


  1. It is recommended that you sit in the central seats of the plane.
  2. Seek medical help either from your doctor or from the A & E of your local hospital, as these symptoms could be something more serious!!


Since having my cochlear implants, the right in July 2017 and the left in May 2018, I have had several flights in both helicopters and aeroplanes including long haul flights, with no untoward effects, however this was soon to change.

In January, I was on an 11-hour flight.  All went well until we were about 5 hours from Heathrow.  I began to feel very unwell.  I got up to seek assistance but was very unsteady on my feet.  I managed to reach the cabin crew but could not make the air hostess understand. Apparently, I was not coherent. I thought I was. I accepted a bottle of water and tried to make my way back to my seat but on entering the passenger cabin, the world began to spin I began to collapse.  I called my friend who came to my assistance. Fortunately, there was an empty seat and I collapsed onto that. My friend and the cabin crew were marvellous. I was given oxygen but as I was already feeling sick that actually made me sick which was horrible.   I always carry a list of my medication with me. The steward took this and consulted a medic. After this I was given an anti-motion sickness pill which helped a bit.  I slept for quite a while and although I still felt peculiar was much better.

On landing my husband and I waited until everyone else had got off the plane.  I had assistance from the plane and was taken by wheelchair up to the airport and then with my husband by buggy through the airport and through a special lane through passport control to baggage reclaim.  When our luggage was collected I was taken by wheel chair to our car.   The service was amazing and both my husband and I were so grateful to the Crew and to airport staff for all their help.

When I arrived home I had some tea and toast and managed to keep it down. I stayed downstairs Monday night as I didn’t want to risk going upstairs.

In the morning I still felt very disorientated and my balance was not good.  Still no hearing in my right ear just interference when I put my processor on.  I ate a banana but was promptly sick – so no good trying to eat.  By lunchtime I could barely stand and needed support to go anywhere.  My husband made an appointment for me with our doctor for the afternoon,


On seeing the doctor she tested my Co-ordination and it was OK.  She  confirmed what I suspected.  It was either an inner ear problem or a virus.  She prescribed me some anti sickness pills used to treat migraine.  She also said if I felt any worse to either come back or even go to A & E.  We returned home and I took my first pill.  By the evening I was feeling a little better and able to eat a little food. A good first step.

                                                                                                                                                                     I now had to sort out my cochlear and hearing!  I am lucky to have a second processor and I tried that but that didn’t work either.  Still feeling dizzy but not so sick.   I was given advice to try to make my cochlear work but to no avail.

The following day I felt a little better but my balance still not too good. I noticed that when I put my processor on, the interference was not so loud. I had also felt like a popping in my ear and sometimes could bear to have the processor switched on. Still could not hear but the interference was minimal and then the interference stopped, and I could hear again in my right ear!!! Wonderful!   Next step to use the controller/zapper. That didn’t work on either of my processors for the right ear. I kept trying to regain control and then by about 9.45pm suddenly they worked - what a relief!  I am so lucky to have the support of my friend and audiologist. I am so grateful to both of them.

Now I just have to get myself well balanced again. 


For the next ten days my balance began to improve but I still couldn’t hear too well

I tried to drive, only just round to the next road, but was so scared because I felt odd with my balance. Won’t be driving for a while yet.


I went shopping today with my husband.  While he was finding some items, I started to sway and grabbed hold of the trolley which moved and knocked over a cardboard display board. It was so heavy I couldn’t pick it up. A lovely young lady assistant came to my aid, but I WAS EMBARRASSED.   I finished the shopping with no further hiccups but was very tired and off balance when I got home.


I had an appointment with my tutor and audiologist.  My audiologist checked my cochlear -I have much more volume now and the sounds are not so tinny.  Great!!   I am going to monitor my hearing and then we’ll meet again to see if the problem has righted itself.


After they left, I had a shock as for a few minutes all I could hear in my left ear was interference BUT it stopped, and I could hear again.


Hearing pretty good even if I just use my left cochlear.  It’s not perfect but definitely better than it was. In the morning my balance was good but after a couple of hours I began feeling a bit off balance again.  After a rest it was better again for a while.


I have gradually recovered my balance. I have good days and bad days but am very much improved. When I am tired, I notice my balance going but I can bend down and move quickly without ill effects most of the time.

I can hear better but need a retune because it seems to me that everything is very loud. Obviously in the current climate I will not be having a retune in the near future, but I am so pleased to be able to hear as well as I can now.

I can drive but only for short distances. But it is a start. So glad to be able to do that!

I am able to drive now!!!


It is now May and my hearing is much better. On the whole my balance is better but I still have times when it is a bit unstable.  When the doctors don’t have more pressing things on their mind I will seek further advice. I’m doing very well for the moment.


Post script.

This has been a trying time.  I hope my account may help anyone else who is unfortunate enough to experience anything like this. It is not very pleasant. Always seek help if you are at all worried! I still find my cochlear implants an amazing benefit and marvel at how they have changed  my life