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Ear, Nose, Throat, and Equilibrium

Cochlear Implants

Cochlear Implant

This small, electronic device is surgically implanted under the skin behind the ear to provide a sense of sound to a child or adult who is deaf or whose hearing is severely diminished. Unlike a hearing aid that helps to amplify sound, the cochlear (COKE-lee-ur) implant gathers sound electronically and transmits the vibrations to the brain where they are recognized as sound. Hearing through the implant may be different than normal hearing, but the implant allows a person to distinguish words and communicate orally. You may find the online information on cochlear implants available from Consumer Affairs helpful. 

The FAA allows the use of implants for medical certification, but you will need FAA authorization before resuming your flying privileges. When your doctor determines that your hearing is stable and you are having no side effects, such as dizziness or disequilibrium, and you are released for normal activities, you should submit your information to the FAA. When approved, you will receive authorization to take a medical flight test (MFT), which you will schedule at your preferred flight standards district office (FSDO). After satisfactory completion of the flight test, the FAA will issue your medical certification.

The FAA will need to see:

  • A current status report from your treating physician that includes diagnosis, date of surgery, how you are doing post-operatively, any side effects, and prognosis.
  • Hospital records: admittance/discharge summaries, operative report, and reports from any diagnostic tests that may have been performed.
  • Complete post-recovery otolaryngology (ear, nose, throat) evaluation o include audiogram with speech determination scores.
  • A letter from you stating the preferred FSDO location for your medical flight test.

  • How/Where to Submit to the FAA

    Helps you find the contact information for submitting your medical records.


    Updated April 25, 2018