Longer days, brighter sunshine, and spring fever are about to hit, and with that comes the travel bug. Travel can be hindered by hearing loss, but there are many options for overcoming any adversity.
Flying with Hearing Aids
Travelling, especially on airplanes, can be difficult for those who are hard of hearing, but many airlines are taking additional steps to improve their flying experience. Here are a few ways domestic airlines have made life easier for those with hearing loss:
- Monitors in front of gate show arrivals and departures mirroring audio announcements.
- Telecommunication device for the deaf (TDDs) are often available within the airport to aid in communication.
- Safety assistants are also available for solo riders with hearing aids who need additional help.
- Those with hearing loss are prohibited from flying in the exit row so be sure to check your seat location when booking.
- Text alerts are available at many airports to ensure you don’t miss any announcements made over the speaker.
Since airport workers have trouble identifying flyers with hearing aids, be sure to make it known if you need any accommodations.
Train and Bus Travel
Driving yourself may not be the best idea if you experience hearing loss, and many people fear planes. For these individuals, taking a bus or train may be the best way to travel. Many buses advertise the names of the stops on overhead electronic signs, so it’s important to pay attention. It doesn’t hurt to recruit a friend as a back-up so you don’t miss your stop! Trains are an even faster way to get to your destination. Amtrak require passengers with hearing loss to purchase their tickets 14 days ahead of schedule. Aside from the benefit of having your trip planned, Amtrak even gives discounts to those with disabilities as well as one additional travel companion. There are special room accommodations that can be made as well for those with wheelchairs or limiting disabilities.
Travelling Abroad with Hearing Loss
Many travelers have issues with communicating in different countries due to language barriers, so travelling with hearing loss may not be that much different. The common theme is asking for help when needed and preparing to prevent issues. Have a printed copy of any reservations to thwart misunderstandings. It is especially imperative to plan ahead and confirm with your hotel that they have lighted signs and visual cues for emergencies. By informing the front desk that you have hearing loss, they can be sure to notify you specifically in person should an issue arise.
Tips for Travelling with Hearing Aids
Here are a few more tricks to prevent any issues when travelling with hearing aids:
- Bring plenty of batteries or rechargeable batteries with the correct plug for the particular country’s outlet.
- Carry a cleaning kit – you never know what supplies are available where you are travelling.
- Plan your agenda around compliant attractions with hearing aids. If you have a guide dog, be sure the locations allow the animals inside.
- Do not remove hearing aids on flights to prevent missing information.
- Do not wear ear plugs on airplanes to allow ears to constrict without becoming plugged with the elevation change.
Travel safe and as always, care for your ears!