Traveling can be an exciting venture to look forward too and enjoy. Traveling with hearing loss is no different, it just requires a little bit of extra planning.
A good place to start is surfing the web! You are not the first or the last person to travel with hearing loss. Plenty of people have gone before you and documented their experiences on the Internet. Do your research on locations and accommodations that offer services that will make your trip just a little easier. You could also seek out a travel agent who specializes in working with the deaf or hard of hearing.
The Internet also makes booking trips and tours online a breeze. Always ask for emailed confirmations for reservations. Then you will have everything you need in writing and can bring these along for easy communication at front desks.
Visit you audiologist before a trip to ensure everything is in proper working order. Pack plenty of extra batteries, filters and tubing. Remember charging stations or remotes if applicable. If you are traveling abroad don’t forget power converters. Many people also like to bring an old or back up pair of hearing aids just incase disaster strikes.
If your travels take you through airport security leave your hearing aids in place. They do not need to be removed for security scanners, but they may make a funny buzzing sound when you cross through them.
Don’t be afraid to point out that you are traveling with hearing loss. If you alert staff at the airport, train station, or hotel they can notify you of gate or time changes as well as assist you in an emergency. Many airlines now offer text or email alert services that you can sign up for when you book so you can get gate changes directly to your phone. If you’d rather you can also rely on your fellow travelers for help just explain that you have hearing loss and ask that they fill you in if there are any safety announcements.
While you are on vacation try to stick to your normal cleaning, battery change, and storage routine. Your hearing aids could potentially gather more dirt and debris while traveling, depending on your activities, so regular cleaning in a must. Sticking to your routine will also help prevent loss and damage.
If you are heading to a hot destination or anyplace near the beach or pool remember to take extra precautions to protect against sweat and water. Some manufacturers offer small sock-like covers to protect your hearing aids from sweat. If you plan to be near water taking your hearing aids out and storing them in a cool dry place may be the best option.
Wherever you go, you can assist future travelers by mentioning any problems you notice to staff. If the hotel does not offer a vibrating alarm clock or the museum doesn’t offer captioning for their exhibits talk with someone in charge and advocate for change, especially if you are vacationing in the U.S. Most of these accommodations are required by law through the Americans with Disabilities Act. Nobody understands the needs of someone traveling with hearing loss better than you! And you are entitled to enjoy your vacation just like anybody else.