Traveling with hearing loss or hearing aids may seem intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. Planning ahead and knowing how to prepare for a trip is the key to making it a great experience. Take a look at some tips to get the most out of your trips. Hearing impairment may be a ‘hidden disability but it’s one about which increasing numbers of tourism operators and destinations are becoming significantly more aware.
Preparation is key
Like all things in life, preparation is key, and it’s no different when it comes to traveling with hearing loss. Below we’ve compiled a list of travel tips for those who are hard of hearing.
Visit your Audiologist
It’s important to make sure your hearing aids are as prepared for your trip as you are. Arrange an appointment in advance and make sure you ask about assistive listening devices (such as Bluetooth wireless connectivity to TVs and phones, a vibrating alarm, and FM systems.) These can help make your stay much more enjoyable.
When in doubt, pack it
Remember to bring extra hearing aid batteries and tubing and don’t forget to store these in your carry-on as your hold luggage is at risk of being misplaced. Don’t forget a protective waterproof travel case and a cleaning kit. It’s also a good idea to bring a dehumidifier if you can, especially if you’re traveling to a humid, hot and tropical area.
Embrace your hearing loss
Don’t be afraid to tell a staff member or fellow traveler of your hearing loss. They can help assist in making sure you don’t miss any changes in boarding times/gates or delays. Those who are hard of hearing don’t need to shy away from that. The majority of people are happy to assist you in any way they can.
At the airport
Additionally, you can use a self-check-in kiosk to sidestep the possibility of having trouble communicating with airline staff at the counter. Some airport terminals and lounges provide hearing loops (sometimes called audio induction loops), special sound systems for people with hearing aids that greatly improve the quality of sound in public places and reduce background noise: The system provides a magnetic, wireless signal that is picked up by the hearing aid when it is set to the “T” (for Telecoil) setting, Sydlowski notes.
When you go through security, “you’re not required to remove any hearing aids or cochlear implants,” Sydlowski says, but you may be given a pat-down if they set off the metal detector or advanced imaging technology. Don’t put your hearing device on the X-ray belt, though, because it can damage the microphones, Sydlowski warns. Once you’re at the gate, sit near the podium and let the attendant there know that you have hearing loss if you’re concerned about whether you’ll hear announcements.
Protect your hearing aids
Remember to keep your hearing aids clean as you move from place to place as they can gather bacteria on airplanes and at heavily-populated tourist locations. Store your hearing aids in their appropriate case in the same safe location every night.
When looking for lodging
When booking hotels, look for rooms specifically designed for hearing impaired guests. These rooms contain features such as phones that vibrate or flash when ringing, and flashing fire alarms. Hotels themselves, meanwhile, should have protocols in place to help hearing impaired guests in the event of an emergency.
Use hearing aids
If you suffer from mild to moderate hearing loss, a hearing aid can make many aspects of travel safer and easier. They can allow you to stay on top of important information, participate in group or public events, and communicate easier by connecting directly to your phone. However, traveling with hearing aids poses its own challenges. If you have hearing aids, make sure you do the following when traveling:
Bring extras of all supplies such as batteries and tubes. Depending on where you travel to you may have trouble finding the right pieces at your destination.