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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Travel Tips for People with Hearing Loss

October is a great time to travel. The leaves are changing colors.  There is a crispness in the air.  It is also National Audiology Awareness Month in the U.S.  As such, I thought it would be a good time to address the challenges that people with hearing loss experience while traveling.  After consulting several professional resources, I compiled a list of the best travel tips for people with hearing impairment:

  1. Do not pack your hearing aids or cochlear implant in your checked luggage. Carry them on.
  2. Bring an extra set of hearing aids with you, especially on long trips. Consider purchasing an inexpensive set of hearing aids as a back up.
  3. Keep paper and pens handy for communication. You can also use various apps on your smart phone if you find yourself in a situation that is too noisy to verbally communicate.
  4. Take a vibrating alarm clock with you. Not all countries have special accommodations for people with hearing loss.
  5. Take extra batteries, cleaning tools, wax guards, domes, and a mini dry aid kit with you.
  6. If you have a cochlear implant or other implantable device make sure you take your medical ID card with you.
  7. You do not need to take your hearing aids off as you go through security.
  8. Train stations and airports can be very noisy. Do not rely on your ability to hear boarding announcements or directions. Check monitors often for changes in flight or train schedules.
  9. Make sure your travel documents are in order and handy. If you can't hear the customs officials, just hand them your documents and let them know you have a hearing impairment.
  10. Check ahead of time if your hotel is equipped for the hearing impaired. If so, book that room, if available. In the U.S. larger hotels are required to have handicapped accessible rooms. This includes amplified telephones and visual alerts for both the phone and smoke alarm.
  11. Use your T-coils while traveling, especially in Europe. Looping is very popular there.
  12. Ask your tour guide to use an Assistive Listening Device (ALD).
  13. Set your phone to vibrate or go off near departure time in case you can't hear the boarding announcement.
  14. Take the name and phone number of your audiologist or customer service department of the device manufacturer with you. They can ship spare parts or direct you to a professional near your travel destination in case of emergency.
For further information and helpful tips for travelers with hearing impairment consult these resources: