Traveling is typically a fun activity but it can often be stressful for those with hearing loss and hearing aids. With a little extra planning, people with hearing loss can enjoy travel just as much as anyone else.
Remembering these tips can keep your travel stress-free and your hearing aids well-maintained.
Before You Go:
Visit your audiologist
- Make sure your hearing aids are as prepared for your trip as you are. If you don’t have time to visit your audiologist, check to see if there is an audiologist/practice near your destination.
- At your appointment, ask about assistive listening devices (like a vibrating alarm, Bluetooth® wireless connectivity to TVs and phones, and FM systems) to help make your stay more enjoyable.
What to pack
- Be sure to bring extra hearing aid batteries and tubing (store these in your carry-on to prevent loss).
- Don’t forget a cleaning kit and a protective waterproof travel case!
- Bring a dehumidifier if you can, particularly if you’re traveling to a hot, humid, or tropical area.
- An outlet converter will help make sure you can charge your rechargeable batteries and other devices if traveling internationally.
- You may even want to bring a pair of old hearing aids as a backup.
- If you have stopovers, choose a flight with a longer layover. Gate change announcements can be difficult to hear on an airport public address system, so give yourself plenty of time to get to your next plane.
- Pick an airplane seat near the cabin stewards, so you can speak with them one-on-one if necessary instead of across a crowded cabin.
- When booking hotels, transportation, and outings, ask for email confirmations so you can print them out or reference them via email when needed.
- Sign up for text or email alerts after booking your transportation. This will help ensure you’re aware of departure times, changes, etc.
- Ask about better-hearing accommodations or ADA compliance kits before you go. Many hotels can provide accommodations that make your stay more enjoyable, including closed-caption TVs and T-coil loops in rooms and lobbies.
On Your Way:
- Have your printed itinerary and confirmation papers in hand or ready on your phone.
- Make sure your phone is on vibrate so you won’t miss those text/email alerts you signed up for.
- Don’t be afraid to tell a fellow traveler or a staff member of your hearing loss. They can help ensure you don’t miss a change in itinerary or your boarding time.
- If there are no visuals for stops on your bus or train, ask your neighbor to let you know when your stop is coming up. Or try counting the number of stops until it’s your time to depart.
- As you move from place to place, remember to keep your hearing aids clean by wiping them down every night. Remember, hearing aids can gather bacteria on airplanes and at tourist spots.
- When out on a tour, FM listening systems can help you hear lectures, commentary, etc. Ask the speaker to use a transmitter microphone, which gives you the ability to hear the presentation over radio waves through your hearing aid’s receiver.
- At your hotel, make sure to remind the front desk that you have a hearing impairment, just in case there’s an emergency.
- Lastly, advocate for yourself. When you do this, it makes travel easier both on yourself and those around you. It also assists and advocates for future travelers. If you spot an opportunity for improvement, let staff know. If the closed captioning on your hotel room TV is complicated, or if there is no ADA kit available for a visual alarm clock/smoke detector, the hotel should be alerted immediately. In doing so, you may be helping the next hard of hearing traveler.
Most importantly, have fun!