Whether it’s for business trip or a family vacation, traveling can be especially challenging for people with hearing loss. But that shouldn’t stop anyone from seeing the world. With a little extra preparation and planning, you can minimize or eliminate the added stress involved with traveling with hearing loss and enjoy a wonderful trip.
Common Problems when Traveling with Hearing Loss include:
- Missing important information such as airline boarding or flight information, in-flight announcements, tour group announcements and more
- Difficulty making or confirming reservations over the phone, including misunderstanding dates and times
- Not being able to hear warnings, safety announcements or emergency alarms
- Having trouble using telephones or using a cell phone in a public places
- The inability to hear or participate certain activities such as group/guided tours, museum lectures and live performances
- Lack of accommodations for hearing dogs
- Trouble understanding accented speech or local idioms
- Having difficulty hearing lectures or following along in large meetings
Not to worry; there are many things that people with hearing impairments can do to help make their travels safe, comfortable, and more enjoyable. Don’t avoid traveling because of hearing loss. Communicate to your fellow travelers, transportation hosts and hotel personnel that you are hearing impaired may help your trip run more smoothly.
Here are some additional tips for stress-free travel with hearing loss:
- Before You Leave – Sign up for text or email alerts when you make reservations so you catch important announcements about changes or cancellations. When making a hotel reservation or booking a cruise, request rooms that are in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design and are equipped with visual or tactile alarm and notification devices.
- Pack Right – Bring your hearing aid’s drying and storage equipment, (especially for humid climates), and don’t forget an appropriate outlet converter if you’re traveling abroad. Also, make sure to pack your hearing aid supplies such as batteries and tubing.
- Communication Is Key – Bring a pen and paper or use the notepad app on your smartphone – this can avoid a lot of misunderstanding, especially if you are traveling abroad.
- Be Secure – When passing through security metal detectors or body scanners, you are not required to remove your hearing aids, but TSA recommends that you inform the security officer before the screening process begins. You can print a TSA notification card at www.tsa.gov.
- Keep It On – Not too many people know this, but you may keep hearing devices turned on during the entire flight, even after the flight crew requires passengers to “turn off all electronic devices.” We still recommend that you let the flight attendants and your seat mates know that you have hearing loss so they will alert you about any vital announcements.
- Save $$$ – Amtrak often offers a discounts to adult passengers with a disability and a traveling companion. Contact Amtrak form more information.
- Get Priority Seating – Greyhound has a Disabilities Travel Assistance Hotline when planning your trip. At the terminal, remember to request and request priority seating (if available).
- Cruisin’ USA – When booking a cruise, consider asking if:
- The theaters have assisted-listening devices (ALDs) available? If not, do they provide closed-captioning or scripts?
- They provide sign language interpretation services?
- Their cabins have teletypewriters?
- Safety First -Throughout your trip, inform the appropriate personnel of your hearing loss so they will can reach you in an emergency.
- Protect Yourself – Clean your hearing aids often as they can gather bacteria on airplanes and at heavily-populated tourist locations. Store your hearing aids in their case every night.
But, most our important tip of all, have fun and enjoy yourself!
Have questions about traveling with hearing loss?
Want to speak with an experienced hearing professional about your concerns? Contact Hearing Solutions, Inc or schedule an appointment at an offices near you. Our a friendly staff are happy to help you both before you leave, or address any issues that you incurred while away upon your return.