With winter coming and recent news of the US land border opening for fully vaccinated travelers, many people will be traveling in the next couple months. Traveling with a hearing loss takes some adjustment, but it doesn’t have to be difficult! With some thought and preparation, stressful situations involving your hearing loss can be minimized or avoided altogether so you can have a safe and enjoyable trip.
Here are some tips we’ve compiled on how to travel with a hearing loss, by plane and by car.
1) Pack enough supplies
Bring extra batteries or the charger case if you have rechargeable hearing aids plus an adapter for the local electrical sockets if you’re travelling overseas. Be sure to pack necessary equipment in your carryon so they’re easily accessible! Pack your hearing aid accessories and anything you might need for hearing aid maintenance, such as a cleaning kit, extra filters and domes, and hearing aid dehumidifier or similar device in case moisture gets into the hearing aids.
(Check out our post on what to do if your hearing aids get wet here: What To Do If Hearing Aids Get Wet)
2) Get your hearing aids checked
If you plan to be away from where your local clinic is for a significant amount of time, consider getting a tune up for your hearing aids before you go to make sure they’re in good working order.
Travelling by Plane
1) Sign up for flight change alerts
Whether by phone, email, or text be sure to sign up for alerts to be sent to you in case there are any changes with the flight such as gate changes, time changes, or cancellations. Overhead announcements can be sometimes hard to hear, especially if the airport is busy.
2) Wear your hearing aids through security
You do not need to take them off and put them in the bin for scanning. Inform the officer that you are hard of hearing and that you are wearing hearing aids to prevent being flagged.
3) Let people know about your hearing loss
Having a hearing loss and needing help is nothing to be embarrassed about! If you can’t hear the airport or flight staff, let someone know about your hearing loss so they can better assist you. Be willing to inform people how to communicate with you, such as facing you directly and speaking up if needed.
Travelling by Car
1) Minimize the noise around you
Don’t have the car radio up too high, close the driver’s side window to reduce wind and traffic noises, and ask passengers to keep their conversation volume low. These steps can help you pay attention to driving and to focus on the road and other vehicles around you.
2) Consider installing an extra wide rear-view mirror
Having an extra wide rear-view mirror can help you see more of your surroundings so you can pick up on things that you maybe can’t hear, such as vehicles approaching. It can also help with seeing and communicating with back seat passengers.
3) Use a remote microphone to communicate with passengers
If you have one, asking your passengers to use a remote microphone could help prevent hearing fatigue, since their voice and conversation would be delivered right to your hearing aids. This makes it easier to understand what people are saying, since it reduces the strain of trying to understand words without facing the person talking.
4) Use Bluetooth
If your hearing aids have Bluetooth capabilities, use it! Bluetooth can help you take hands-free calls and can usually connect straight to GPS devices so you can hear it clearly through the hearing aids. If you’re unsure if your hearing aids have Bluetooth or you don’t know how to use it, our team will gladly help you!
If you find your hearing aids have stopped working while on a trip, don’t panic! We also have a guide on basic hearing aid troubleshooting, so hopefully the problem can be fixed without having to visit a clinic. Click the link below for that guide.
Basic Hearing Aid Troubleshooting