Everyone loves a good holiday, but traveling isn’t always easy. Leaving home can be stressful, especially if you’re one of the 40 million Americans struggling to hear. Whether you’re traveling for work or for leisure, follow these tips to help make your next trip a success.
If you have hearing loss, it’s important to plan ahead and be prepared. It might seem like a good idea to just wing it, but you’ll regret it later. Before leaving home, find a hotel that can accommodate your hearing loss. Don’t book a room until you’ve asked about any specific amenities that they can provide, like flashing light notifications for the phone and doorbell, TTY phone technology, and smoke detectors and alarms designed to wake those with hearing loss. When booking accommodation or transportation, always ask for written confirmation to be sent to you via email so you can confirm that all the dates and information are correct.
When it comes to activities, many museums, theaters, and concert halls offer assistive technology, either through hearing loops or assistive listening devices. Call ahead for more information and be sure you’re planning activities you’ll be able to enjoy.
Along with your holiday outfits, don’t forget to pack everything you’ll need to help you hear. Bring extra batteries for your hearing aids, or your hearing aid charger if you use rechargeable batteries. Traveling outside of the country? See if you’ll need an adaptor or converter to plug in your charger and electronics. If you’ll be gone for more than a week, pack your cleaning tools, and don’t forget to bring extra tubing and your storage case to keep your devices safe. To avoid any damage, always pack your hearing aid equipment in your carry-on luggage.
Some cities can be extremely loud! Bring along ear protection to wear during loud commutes, or at any loud events you plan to attend. Finally, slip a small notebook and pen into your bag for emergencies, so that whatever happens you’ll always have a way to communicate.
Sign Up for Automated Alerts
One of the most stressful parts of travel can be waiting in airports or bus and train stations. You’ve read the signs and you’re at the right gate, but will you hear an announcement about a gate change or delayed flight? Many airlines and trains now have text or email alert systems and will send you real time notifications about your trip, so you can rest easy knowing you won’t miss your flight. The airline or train company’s app can also provide up to date timetables and notify you of changes or delays.
Ask for What You Need
When you’re out and about during your holiday, don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. Let your fellow travelers know you have hearing loss, and ask them tell you if there are any announcements. If you’re on a tour, let your tour guide know you have trouble hearing, and stay close to them. Before the tour starts, ask them to speak as clearly as possible, and face the group whenever they’re speaking.
When it comes to food, ask for recommendations for quiet restaurants that don’t play loud music. Once you find a nice place, always ask for a quiet table along a wall, away from the kitchen.
Make a Backup Plan
No one wants to fight with hearing aid problems when they’re on a trip, so be prepared. If your hearing aids stop working while you’re away, have a backup plan so you’ll be able to enjoy the rest of your holiday. From a spare pair of hearing aids to a pocket talker or FM system, your back up plan doesn’t have to be perfect as long as it will help you hear. You can even use hearing apps on your phone, along with a good quality headset, to help you pick up on the sounds around you.
South Shore Hearing Center
Do you have travel plans this fall? Visit us at South Shore Hearing Center before you leave for a hearing assessment or hearing aid checkup. We’ll make sure your hearing aids are as ready for the trip as you are, and give you a few more tips for how to travel safely with hearing aids.