Hearing loss should not inhibit you from traveling freely, whether it is a family getaway or your dream vacation. Smart planning means you can avoid complications and enjoy your trip free of cares! Here are a few tips for traveling with hearing aids.
1. Be selective about your destination
Available activities, population, nightlife, and traffic congestion should all be considered. A bustling city with nightlife that goes until 4 a.m. with pedestrian and traffic noise to accompany can create stress on your trip. Search online for hearing-loss friendly vacation destinations. There are also hearing aids that allow you to adjust sound settings for specific environments through a connected app. Ask your audiologist about options available to you.
2. Do your research
Before you go, find out if the hotel provides auxiliary aids, telephones compatible with hearing aids or visual alarm clocks. Determine what you need for a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), hotels and motels must be accessible to individuals with hearing loss. The ADA applies to all inns, hotels, motels and other places of lodging.
3. Get travel notifications
If you make reservations online, sign up for travel notifications via text message or email alerts. This affords you easy access to your itinerary, and announcements about delays or cancellations. If you prefer to book your travel through an agency, request an agent who specializes in working with deaf or hard of hearing clients, and ask them for email correspondence for confirmations of all arrangements.
4. Bring it, just in case
A great way to plan for what you need to pack is by making a comprehensive checklist. This is especially helpful considering you will need to pack everything to keep your hearing aids functional, clean, and protected. Make sure to bring spare batteries, a storage case, cleaning supplies, extra tubing, and remotes and chargers for any other devices. You will also need a voltage converter if you are traveling internationally or drying equipment if you are visiting a humid destination. Make sure to pack these in carry-on luggage to prevent loss or damage to these important items.
5. Communicate constantly
After you have done the work to set up a vacation free from stress, communicate your needs with those around you. Including travel companions, airport security, flight attendants, hotel staff, and others. It is not necessary to remove your hearing aids as you pass through airport security, but TSA recommends that you inform the security officer before screening begins. Do not hesitate to inform your flight attendants and seat partner of your hearing loss so they can alert you about announcements.
Communicate this information to any guides you may have in your traveling, too. Let them know that you will stay close to them to hear better and see their face for lipreading. Kindly ask ahead of time if they can speak clearly and only while facing the group whenever possible.
6. In case of an emergency (with your hearing aids)
Before you go, visit us at Clear Hearing and Audiology so we can provide maintenance to your aids. We can also help you remember the steps of care and best practices for traveling with hearing aids. In the event that your hearing aids should malfunction, give us a call. If you are able to have a friend, relative, or hotel staff member call, make sure you factor in the change in time zone.
If there is access, you can also use email, knowing there is likely a more significant delay in response. You can also search for an audiologist or board-certified hearing instrument specialist (BC-HIS) near you for more immediate assistance and inquire about communicating with your hearing doctor back home.
7. Protect your hearing aids
As you move around during your travels, remember to keep your hearing aids clean. They can gather bacteria on airplanes and in densely populated tourist locations. Remember the health and financial investments you have put into these devices—do not take them for granted. Be sure to also store them in their appropriate case nightly.
These are just a few tips on traveling with hearing aids and navigating different circumstances that may arise. Though this list cannot account for all instances that might arise, it is a pretty good rule of thumb to take as much care, if not better, of your hearing aids while traveling as you do while at home.
Clear Hearing and Audiology
Are you headed out on a trip? Stop in to see us at Clear Hearing and Audiology before you go for routine maintenance and hearing aid cleaning. We’re here to make sure your hearing aids are in optimal condition before your travels!