Tips for Traveling with Hearing Loss
While traveling is a challenge for anybody, traveling with hearing loss can be that extra hurdle that may put many people off from going on vacation. But it shouldn't be a reason for us to avoid getting on a plane and making the most of our journeys. If you have a hearing aid, or you are experiencing hearing loss, what can you do to make the most of your journeys?
Before Your Trip
Prior to heading off, it's important to ensure you are prepared for any small issues with your hearing aids. Depending on your destination, you need to find out if the accommodation has specific hearing-accessible features. In America, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) law requires hotel rooms have the following type of features:
- ATV with closed captioning.
- Signs indicating listening devices are available.
- Sensors or lights to alert guests if the doorbell or the phone is ringing.
- A telephone that allows guests to communicate via text or typing, for example, a phone.
It is important, prior to going, that you make a list so you don't forget any of your hearing device essentials. The basics include the following:
- Small hearing aid dehumidifier
- Adaptor for your charger
- Cleaning kit
- Extra batteries
- Storage case or drying container
- Hearing aid protectors if you plan on doing outdoor activities like hiking or camping.
Traveling to Your Location
If you plan on driving to your destination, you may not need to pass through security or worry about hearing gate changes, but there are a couple of things to consider:
- Ask your audiologist about assistive listening devices to improve your ability to hear conversations with other travelers in the car.
- Look into installing an induction loop into your car. This will help you hear the radio, and conversation within the car.
Traveling By Public Transport
If you are traveling by train, bus, or plane, it's important to remember that you could find yourself in some very noisy environments. Consider the following:
- Check the relevant websites or contact the providers in advance to enquire about services for people with hearing loss. If you require sign language interpretation, contact the relevant facility at least two weeks before your arrival.
- You do not need to remove your hearing aids when heading through airport security, however, you may want to let airport personnel know, as the device could result in you being flagged for additional screening.
- If you choose to not wear your hearing aids at the airport, do not put them on the conveyor belt or in the plastic bins as they could get damaged.
- Be near to any notice boards, especially if there are any last-minute changes to departure or arrival gates. Many travel hubs have induction loop systems to help with this, but it's a good idea to sign up for travel alerts on your phone.
During Your Journey
When you are traveling, you need to be aware of any hearing aid issues. Sometimes, hearing aids cause problems when you are traveling. If you are experiencing any typical hearing aid problems, for example, if they are not producing sounds, are not loud enough or are producing feedback, your audiologist can give you a few pointers to help you. For example, they can show you how to inspect the hearing aid for any blockage, test different memory settings on the device and replacing the battery.
When you are on the plane, you do not need to turn off your hearing aids when flight attendants and all devices should be switched off. But it's important to remember that you may want to bring your own entertainment. On-board entertainment may not have captioning services, and announcements may be difficult to hear.
Depending on the severity of your hearing loss, you may want to let a flight attendant know that you cannot hear them clearly. You should also think about reducing your ear pain while flying. You can do this by using simple techniques such as swallowing, chewing gum and practicing the Valsalva maneuver, where you close your mouth and pinch your nostrils shut with a mouthful of air.
When You Are Traveling to a Foreign Country
If you are traveling internationally, communication could be difficult enough even without hearing loss. However, traveling with hearing loss doesn't have to be an issue, there are a few things you can do to make life easier including:
- Alerting travel personnel ahead of time about your hearing loss so they can provide extra resistance.
- Seeking hearing loss services and translator support online.
- Downloading a translator app onto your smartphone or having a pocket dictionary with you.
Traveling with hearing loss should not mean a diminished vacation or travel experience. However, if you have any concerns about traveling with hearing loss, audiologists can provide you with advice to help. If you want to learn more about Hinderliter Hearing Services and how we can help, call us today at 248-430-8425.