Tips for Traveling with Hearing Aids

While new experiences await on your next travel destination, traveling with hearing aids can be challenging for people who experience hearing loss.  Here are four tips to help you plan for your next travel experience with your hearing aids.

Research and Prepare For Your Needs

Before selecting your travel destination, research and familiarize yourself with accommodations, local area resources, and activities that are accessible for people with hearing devices.  Does your accommodation provide specific amenities such as access to auxiliary aids, flashing doorbells, visual alarm clocks, television closed caption decoders, hearing aid compatible telephones, and safety alerting devices?  Pursuant to Title III of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), hotels and motels in the United States must be accessible to individuals with hearing loss.

If you are traveling outside the United States or to a developing country, contact your accommodation to request any specific needs that they are able to help with such as a voltage converter for your hearing device.  Ensure that you have packed essential supplies such as extra batteries, and research whether local supplies are available to keep your hearing aids functional for longer term travel experiences.

Contact local attractions such as museums and performance venues and ask if they provide hearing loops or other assistive technology upon request.  In some travel destinations, there may be local activities that offer unique experiences for travelers from the deaf and hard of hearing community.  Also, be sure to familiarize yourself with the local culture of the region you are planning to travel to as some nonverbal cues may not have the same meaning in various regions around the world.

Use Technology to Enhance Your Experience

Signing up for travel notifications and alerts on your smartphone can enable you to access any changes to your itinerary with ease and help you plan for the logistics of your upcoming trip.   Be sure to download all apps relevant to your travel experience, and familiarize yourself with how their user interfaces function.  Are there any assistive listening, amplifier, or hearing aid controller apps or devices that would enhance your travel experience?  While traveling, you may need access to an assistive listening app or device such as a pocket-talker or FM system to transmit a speaker’s voice directly to your hearing aids while blocking out any background noise.

Advocate and Communicate

After thoroughly researching, identifying, and preparing for your needs, communicate with your fellow travelers and local tour guides on your hearing loss and share any specific ideas on how they might advocate for and help you to optimize your travel experience.   Some local tour operators may be able to provide accessible experiences to travelers with hearing aids.

While at the airport, it is not compulsory that you remove any hearing aids or cochlear implants.  Be sure to inform the TSA officer of your hearing loss prior to the screening process.  You may also provide a TSA notification card or other medical documentation to inform the TSA officer.  Be sure to notify the flight attendants of your hearing loss to ensure you receive any important announcements.

While meeting new people during your travels, do not be hesitant to communicate and remind them of your specific needs.  Gesturing with your hand behind your ear frequently works well.   It is also advisable to carry a notepad and pen with you to ensure any logistical information is captured in written form.

Protect and Backup Your Hearing Devices

While traveling, be sure to keep our hearing aids clean, as bacteria can gather in densely populated and frequented areas.  Ensure that you have packed the appropriate case, and the necessary cleaning tools and extra tubing.  If the region you are traveling to has high humidity, ensure that you have proper storage to keep your hearing instrument well protected.  To limit the risk of damage or loss of your hearing aids, pack them in your carry-on luggage.

In case there is an issue with your hearing aid during your travels, is there a local network of hearing health professionals available that can assist you if needed?  Have a back-up plan in place prior to your travels, and also pack some extra hearing aids if you have them.

Visit Us at Focus Hearing

At Focus Hearing, we believe that treating hearing loss reconnects you to the sounds of your life. Whether you’re a frequent jetsetter or travel once a year for pleasure, treating hearing loss ensures that you get the most out of your vacations. Contact us at Focus Hearing to schedule a hearing test today!