Traveling With Hearing Loss: Your Guide to a Safe, Enjoyable Trip!

Senior couple with hearing loss watching photos from travel on digital camera during vacation

There are a couple of types of vacations, right? There’s the kind where you cram every single activity you can into every single minute. These are the trips that are recalled for years later and are packed with adventure, and you go back to work more exhausted than you left.

The other kind is all about relaxing. These are the trips where you may not do, well, much of anything. Perhaps you drink a bit of wine. Maybe you spend a day (or two, or three) on the beach. Or perhaps you’re getting spoiled at some resort for your whole vacation. These types of vacations will leave you quite rested and recharged.

Everybody has their own idea of the perfect vacation. But neglected hearing loss can jeopardize whichever type of vacation you take.

Your vacation can be ruined by hearing loss

There are a few unique ways that hearing loss can make a vacation more challenging, particularly if you don’t know you have hearing loss. Look, hearing loss can creep up on you like nobody’s business, many individuals have no clue they have it. The volume on all their devices just keeps going higher and higher.

But the impact that hearing loss can have on a vacation can be reduced with some proven methods, and that’s the good news. Making an appointment for a hearing exam is obviously the first step. The more ready you are ahead of time, the easier it will be to diminish any power hearing loss could have over your fun, rest, and relaxation.

How can your vacation be effected by hearing loss

So how can your next vacation be adversely impacted by hearing loss? There are actually a small number of ways as it turns out. And while some of them may seem a bit trivial at first, they tend to add up! Here are some common examples:

  • The vibrant life of a new place can be missed: When what you’re hearing is muted, your experience could be muted too. After all, your favorite vacation spot is alive with unique sounds, like bustling street sounds or singing birds.
  • Getting beyond language barriers can be overwhelming: Dealing with a language barrier is already difficult enough. But deciphering voices with hearing loss, especially when it’s really loud, makes it much more difficult.
  • Essential notices come in but you frequently miss them: Maybe you miss your flight because you didn’t hear the boarding call. This can throw your entire vacation timing into chaos.
  • You can miss significant moments with friends and family: Maybe your friend just told a hilarious joke that everybody loved, except you couldn’t make out the punchline. When you have untreated hearing loss, you can miss important (and enriching) conversations.

A number of these negative outcomes can be avoided by simply wearing your hearing aids. So, managing your hearing requirements is the best way to keep your vacation on track.

How to get ready for your vacation when you’re dealing with hearing loss

That doesn’t mean that you can’t go on a trip if you have hearing loss. Not by any Means! But it does mean that, when you’re dealing with hearing loss, a little bit of extra planning and preparation, can help make sure your vacation goes as easily as possible. Whether you have hearing loss or not, this is obviously practical travel advice.

You can be sure that hearing loss won’t have a negative effect on your vacation, here are a number of things you can do:

  • Do a little pre-planning: It’s okay to remain spontaneous to a degree, but the more planning you do before you go, the less you’ll need to figure things out on the fly (and that’s when hearing loss can introduce more obstacles).
  • Clean your hearing aids: It’s a good idea to make sure your hearing aids are clean and working correctly before you hop on a plane, train, or automobile. If you have clean hearing aids, you’re much less likely to have difficulties on vacation. It’s also a good plan to make sure your recommended maintenance is current!
  • Bring extra batteries: Having your hearing aids quit on the first day is the worst! Always make sure you bring spares! So are you allowed to bring spare batteries on a plane? Well, possibly, consult your airline. You may need to keep your batteries in your carry-on depending on the kind of battery.

Tips for traveling with hearing aids

Finally, it’s time to hit the road now that all the preparation and planning have been done! Or, well, the airways, maybe. Many people have questions about flying with hearing aids, and there are certainly some good things to recognize before you head to the airport.

  • When I go through the TSA security checkpoint, will I be required to remove my hearing aids? You can wear your hearing aids through the security screening process. That being said, letting the TSA agents know you’re wearing hearing aids is always a good idea. Don’t ever allow your hearing aids to go through an X-ray machine or conveyor belt. Your hearing aids can be damaged by the static charge that these conveyor style X-ray devices produce.
  • Will my smartphone be useful? This will not be shocking, but your smartphone is extremely helpful! After you land, you can utilize this device to adjust the settings on your hearing aid (if you have the right kind of hearing aid), get directions to your destination, and even translate foreign languages. If your phone is prepared to do all that (and you know how to use all those apps), it may take some stress off your ears.
  • Can I wear my hearing aids on the plane? When they announce that it’s time to turn off your electronic devices, you won’t be required to turn your hearing aids off. Having said that, you may want to enable flight mode on hearing aids that rely heavily on wifi or Bluetooth connectivity. Some of the in-flight announcements may be difficult to hear so be certain that you let the flight attendants know about your hearing loss.
  • When I’m in the airport, how well will I be able to hear? That depends, some airports are quite noisy during certain times of the day. But most modern airports will have a telecoil device installed throughout many areas. This is a basic wire device (although you’ll never see that wire, just look for the signs) that makes it easier for you to hear with your hearing aids, even when things are noisy and chaotic.
  • Is it ok to use my hearing aids longer than normal? Hearing aids are designed to be worn every day, all day. So, any time you aren’t sleeping, taking a shower, or going for a swim (or in a really loud setting), you should be using your devices.
  • Should I know my rights? Before you travel it’s never a bad plan to get familiar with your rights. Under the American Disabilities Act, people with hearing loss have many special rights. But essentially, it boils down to this: information must be available to you. So if you think you’re missing out on some info, let an airport official know that you have hearing loss and they will most likely offer a solution.

Vacations are one of life’s many adventures

Whether you have loss of hearing or not, vacations are unpredictable. At times, the train can go off the rails. So be prepared for the unforeseen and try to have a good attitude.

That way you’ll still feel as if your plans are moving in the right direction even when the unavoidable challenge occurs.

Of course, the flip side to that is that preparation can go a long way. With the right preparation, you can make sure you have options when something goes wrong, so an inconvenience doesn’t turn into a catastrophe.

For people who have hearing loss, this preparation frequently begins by getting your hearing assessed and making sure you have the equipment and care you need. And that’s true whether you’re going to every museum in New York City (vacation type number one) or lounging around on a beach in Mexico (vacation type number two).

Still have some questions or concerns? Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing test!

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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