Travel

7 Ways to Travel Better with Hearing Loss

Planning a vacation this year?

Millions of people have decided that it is time to get out and about and see the world again. Travel is a wonderful way to meet new people, see new places, and take in novel experiences. You can get more out of your trip by taking these seven simple steps for making sure your hearing aids are ready for your next trip.

Check out accommodations for hearing loss before you go.

It never hurts to book day tours that include hearing assistance for the hearing impaired. Going to Broadway? Book shows with hearing assistance. Look for concerts, theaters, performance venues, and worship centers that offer hearing accommodation to use with or without your hearing aids.

Know your schedule for each of your flights.

If you anticipate problems hearing your boarding announcements, be sure you know your flight schedule. It may sound a little hokey but synchronize your watches with airport and train station time. Be ready to use visual cues, or just ask the flight desk attendants for help, to make sure you are ready to board when your plane is loading.

Pack the essentials.

There are six essentials for traveling with your hearing aids.

Even on vacation, you need to pack your cleaning kit. Try to keep as close to schedule for cleaning your hearing aids as possible. This reduces wear and tear, particularly if you wear them on a beach or tropical vacation,

Don’t forget your USB cable and charging station. Make a list and check it twice. Going on vacation without the charger for your hearing aids isn’t nice.

Carry extra wax guards and domes. Clogged wax guards can make your hearing aids less than useful. Misshapen domes can ruin your trip, too. Extras will enable you to deal with wax and water issues if they come up.

Take a dryer or dehumidifier if your destination has a damp climate, or if you are departing from northwest Washington or coastal BC in the winter. Drying out your hearing aids when you aren’t using them at night keeps them operational.

Don’t forget Bluetooth accessories. A remote mic is just what you need for answering the phone when you are on the go. It can also make a big difference in how well you hear in a crowded airport.

As you pack, make a list of the essentials you need to keep your hearing aids operational through your entire trip. Here are some items to consider.

And don’t forget the extra batteries. You will be using your hearing aids at least as many hours a day as at home, and probably more. Batteries will run down faster. It’s not always easy to find hearing aid batteries when you are traveling, so be sure to take some spares.

Plan on taking spare batteries.

Here’s a question many people who wear hearing aids ask:

Are hearing aid batteries allowed on planes?

You are always allowed to keep the batteries in the hearing aids you are wearing. The batteries in hearing aids you wear won’t set off metal detectors, and they won’t show up on body scanners. It doesn’t hurt to tell the TSA agent that you are wearing hearing aids if you are worried about this, but it will not be a problem.

You are allowed to carry batteries of all kinds in your carry-on luggage as long as they don’t contain more than 2 grams of lithium. Batteries OK to carry include flat, round lithium button batteries as well as 123, CR123A, CR1, CR2, CRV3, CR22, 2CR5, AA, and AAA batteries.

Plan on using your hearing aids at the airport and on the plane.

SEA-TAC is an exception to the rule, but most airports are noisy places. If you don’t have professionally calibrated hearing aids, listening can be a challenge. It can be tempting to turn off your hearing aids and stow them in your pocket or in your carry-on bag. But don’t.

You are a lot less likely to lose your hearing aids when you are wearing them. And you are less likely to miss a boarding announcement or other instructions if you have them in your ears and turned on at all times.

You don’t need to turn off your hearing aids when the flight attendant asks everyone to put their phones on flight mode and turn off games and other electronic devices. This brings us to another question.

What is flight mode on a hearing aid?

Flight mode turns off Bluetooth or wireless radio on your hearing aids. They will still amplify sound, but they won’t give you wireless connectivity to your phone, laptop, or iPod.

Don’t pack too much into your schedule.

If you live with hearing impairment, you have had to adjust your daily life to deal with it. It takes extra energy to deal with hearing impairment when you are on a different schedule and dealing with different accents or languages.

Give yourself time to relax so you can enjoy the time you are active. Avail yourself of assistive technologies such as speech-to-speech translation for foreign languages and speech-to-text to make sure your travel day goes smoothly.

Be ready to be your own best advocate.

Everywhere you go, there will be gracious and accommodating people who won’t know that hearing is a challenge for you until you tell them. And even when you do, not everyone knows how to respond helpfully. Be patient. Plan on asking for every accommodation you need. Then make it a pleasure to be helpful to you.

Here is another suggestion for getting the most out of your vacation even with hearing loss:

See Harbor Audiology for a professional fitting of a hearing aid that gives you exactly the hearing correction you need.

Hearing aids aren’t just for making sound louder. Modern hearing aids can help you focus on the conversation, music, or performance you want to hear, blocking out background noise. They can give you a distortion-free connection to your phone or to a microphone for a play, a movie, or a speaker. They eliminate feedback from your phone.

Harbor Audiology has convenient offices in TacomaGig HarborSilverdaleSequimBainbridge, and Port Angeles. Request your appointment online or contact us at 253-999-9649 or text us at 253-338-5181 to schedule your appointment today!

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