Whether it is for business or pleasure, travelling by plane can often be a stressful experience. But what if you also have a hearing impairment? Travelers with hearing aids simply need to take a few more steps to ensure their voyage is as hassle-free as possible.
Before You Travel
Protect your device
Moisture can wreak serious damage on the fragile circuits of a hearing aid.
If you are expecting wet weather at your destination, bring a waterproof hat to protect it during sudden downpours. If the weather calls for swimming and beach time, pack a small dry box with your swimsuit so your aid is protected from splashes.
Prepare your equipment
Make sure you have all your hearing aid equipment in your carry on bag. You never know what might happen in transit and these items are often difficult to replace, especially if you are travelling to remote areas.
All hearing aids need power. So however many batteries you think you will need for the duration of your trip, bring two more. They typically last between five and fourteen days so it is difficult to estimate how many you will need. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Pack a power strip and a power adapter (if going overseas) in your checked luggage. Hotel rooms sometimes have too few power sockets for your FM transmitter and receiver power packs.
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To minimize the chance of malfunction, have your device checked by your hearing provider to make sure it is running in optimal condition. Finally, insuring your device is always an option for those who want to cover all eventualities.
Airport & Plane
The Hearing Loop logo can found at major tourist destinations and public transport areas like airports.
If you have a Tele-coil type hearing aid, (90% of hearing aids are equipped with this) you can receive important travel and tourist information directly to your ear.
Don’t be afraid to wear your aid through security as it will not set off any alarms. But it wouldn’t hurt to let the personnel know of your condition as it may explain any anomalies they detect during screening. As you are walking through the metal detector, turn down the volume on your device as it may emit a loud distorted sound.
Those who are worried about not being able to hear the flight announcements should sign up for text alerts on their phone if the airline provides them. Otherwise it is prudent to stay close to departure information screens to keep up-to-date on boarding times.
On the plane
There are a few more useful things to know after you board. Hearing aids are not subject to the same restrictions as other electronic devices during takeoff, so you can (and should) keep them on for the duration of the flight. Your FM transmitters however will need to be switched off during takeoff and landing. In-flight entertainment can be easier enjoyed if you have a pair of over-the-ear headphones. This way you don’t have to remove your hearing aid every time you want to watch a movie. Finally, alert the flight attendant of your impairment in order to be given equal access to any important information.
At the Hotel/Destination
On arrival at the hotel, those particularly hearing impaired should hand the receptionist their phone number and request that any important information (room service, wake up calls) be relayed through text message.
Most hotels offer assistance for hearing loss, such as lit-up fire alarms or assistive listening devices for the TV. Be sure to check with your hotel’s customer service beforehand about their accessibility options.
From all of us at Fidelity Hearing Center, we wish you safe travels!