There’s an old saying: a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Travel is one of life’s greatest joys, to be in a new place, and to see and smell new things, and to return home changed from the experience. For those of us who scrape and save to for a big trip, there are many logistics to plan and to prepare for. For those of us who are planning a journey with hearing loss – well, there’s a lot more to think about.
It may seem daunting to travel with hearing loss, but we’re here to reassure you that travel is exactly the thing your hearing aids help you do. We hope this guide to travel with hearing loss helps as you prepare for your journey.
Come Visit Us at Neighborhood Hearing Centers
Your hearing aids connect you to the world around you, keeping you aware of your surroundings and assisting you as you engage and communicate with others. It’s important to make sure that your hearing aids are in proper working order before you go on a trip.
Come visit us at Neighborhood Hearing Centers before you travel. We’ll give your hearing aids a tune up, make sure they fit properly, and give them a good cleaning and make any repairs necessary. Depending on where you go, there may not be hearing instrument specialists to provide repair – so you’ll want to make sure your aids are in optimal working order before you go!
Make a Hearing Aid Packing List
Regardless of the style of your hearing aid, there are a number of instruments you use to clean them daily. Make sure you’ve got enough batteries for the duration of your journey, in case you cannot find the exact kind you need. If you use rechargeable batteries or rechargeable hearing aids, be sure to pack the charging stations. If you’re going abroad, check for electronic information and bring an adaptor if necessary.
If you plan to travel to a tropical climate, consider buying a dehumidifying unit – if you don’t already have one! Dehumidifying units ensure that your hearing aids stay moisture-free. Simply place your hearing aids into your dehumidifying units over night and wake up to fresh hearing aids.
Use Technology to Your Advantage
Any public transportation hub is overwhelming, no matter your hearing abilities. Whether it’s a train station or airport, there are always announcements playing overhead, while people are buzzing past you to their gates. Check with us at Neighborhood Hearing Centers to see if your aids are equipped with telecoils (T-coils). T-coils connect to a hearing loop, which directly streams announcements over the PA to your hearing aids. T-coils are sometimes available in airports and at ticket counters.
Sign up for email or text alerts for your flights. It may be difficult to hear changes over the PA system in airports, so having a text that immediately notifies you of changes could be useful. If you use wireless hearing aids with connection to a smartphone, you could activate your phone’s microphone to use as an assistive listening device. If you’re having trouble understanding a ticket attendant at the counter, use your hearing-aid compatible app to access this feature.
Communicate with Flight Attendants, Hotels, and Hosts
When going through security, the TSA does not require you to remove your hearing aids. However, let them know you are wearing aids, in case there are difficulties. On flights, let your attendants know that you are experiencing a hearing loss and ask whether you need to turn off your aid during takeoff and landing – changes are, you do not. At the same time, announcements on airplanes are difficult to hear sometimes, so your attendants could relay messages to you personally if necessary.
Hotels in the United States are required by the Americans Disabilities Act (ADA) to provide accessibility for hearing loss. Contact your hotel beforehand and let them know your needs. Hotels provide wakeup services from a personal knock on the door to vibrating alarm clocks. Ask them about emergency procedures as well.
If you are staying with friends or family, let them know about your hearing needs. Communication is key to ensuring that you have a comfortable stay! Your hosts will be happy to accommodate if they know your needs beforehand.