What does travelling with a cochlear implant look like?

A 30-year-old Max Breynck has been a CI user since he was four years old. He enjoys frequent travel. Last year, despite the pandemic, he has managed to do 17 city and seaside trips. Now, he shares his tips on traveling with a cochlear implant with us! 

Max: traveling with a CI

I always need mountains. The Maldives weren’t my thing, but Seychelles were a blast! Bathing beaches, rock formations – just like in a movie! It is a classic tourist destination, but so spacious that you hardly encounter any tourists there. The locals are also really kind, and they are happy and content with their lives.
It is also important for me to travel with my partner, family, and friends in turn. For some people it´s enough to go to the swimming pool or hiking, someone wants to stay in Europe and the others enjoy far-away destinations. And we like to do it all!

How do you deal with communication in foreign countries?

Because of my hearing problems, I had to concentrate on German at school, so English remained a bit neglected. It’s no problem for me to order a meal in a hotel or restaurant, but when I meet someone new, a fluent conversation is almost impossible. But if someone speaks German, I don’t have any problems, even with different accents.

What precautions do you take with your CI system?

I always take one dry box with me. The one that works without electricity. At home I hardy need it, but it makes sense to have it with me on a holiday.
To be on the safe side, I also take more batteries than I might actually need. I take them from two different packs: in case one pack has a production defect.
I never take a vacation kit with me, but I have an old processor as a back-up, and I always take it with me. Once it happened that my processor actually broke on a vacation, and I used the old one. But listening was so different than with the current processor. I wasn’t sure which was better – listening with the old processor or not hearing at all – he laughs.

Does the old processor have the same settings as the current one?

Not really, as the settings has been changed since the upgrade and the new processor also uses different signal processing. Thus, the same settings do not work with the old processor. (Editor’s note: In the vacation kit, signal processing and settings are up to date.)

Do you use WaterWear when you go to the beach? 

I haven’t tried it yet. When I am not diving in the pool, I sometimes have the splash-proof processor on top. But in the open sea, it would be too dangerous for me, even with WaterWear. If I pull off one of the processors, I would never find them again in the sea!

What does traveling mean to you?

It means coming to a place where I don’t have to do laundry, I don’t have to clean anything and I don’t have to think. The vacation time is very, very important to me!