Traveling can already be stressful – planning, packing, flying, etc. But with the ongoing pandemic and additional travel restrictions, travel requires greater precaution. This can be overwhelming for anyone to deal with and even more so if you have hearing loss. Changes to how one can now travel can add more challenges if your hearing is impaired. But integrating the following tips can better help you navigate your travel during the pandemic, making your travel experience as smooth as possible.
- Plan early. A major part of travel is planning. Although it can be tedious, it is important to set aside enough time in advance to thoroughly plan your travel. This can include conducting research, booking accommodations, and making an itinerary. While making your plans, it is important to think about and plan for your hearing needs. Be sure that your accommodations, any activities you plan on participating in, and your transportation options are accessible. You can check to see if they have technologies that are compatible with your hearing aids, have options for people with impaired hearing, etc.
- Make a packing list. Noting the things you need to pack and anything you need to buy before your trip is essential! In addition to clothes, shoes, laptops, etc., there are a few extra supplies people can benefit from while traveling during the pandemic and people with impaired hearing should pack hearing aid essentials. For health precautions, be sure to pack hand sanitizer, masks, and antibacterial wipes. Making a checklist specifically for your hearing needs is a great way to make sure you do not forget essential items that are critical for your hearing needs. This includes a hearing aid storage case, extra batteries to charge devices, or a portable charger if your hearing aid has a rechargeable option, a cleaning kit, a dehumidifier, and any accessories that you have (water protectors, drying container, sweatbands, etc.). Your hearing aid device and related items should be stored together.
- Get hearing aids checked. Taking your hearing aid to your hearing healthcare provider for a thorough cleaning and inspection is a great way to ensure that your device is working optimally. If any repairs are needed, this can happen before your travel which reduces the risk of any malfunctions.
- Sign-up for alerts. Before traveling, be sure to sign up for any text alerts for your flight. This is an easy way to track any changes and monitor your flight activity. Hearing announcements in an airport can be challenging because there is so much background noise. Signing up for alerts is a useful way to know if there are any changes to your flight (any changes with the gate, boarding time, departure time, etc.) or if everything is scheduled on time.
- Maximize hearing aid features. Be sure to make optimal use of your hearing aid features during travel. This includes using Bluetooth technology features to wirelessly connect to other electronics which allows you to stream audio directly, using the telecoil feature to connect to hearing loops in public places like airports and museums, using the smartphone app for your hearing aid to adjust settings, etc. Maximizing these features enhances sound quality and creates seamless listening experiences.
- Know what to expect on your flight. Understanding what you can expect before and during your flight is another helpful way you can ensure your hearing needs are being met. Here are a few important pieces of information:
- You do not need to remove your hearing aid when moving through airport security or on your flight so be sure to always be wearing your hearing aid.
- It is also useful to let the flight attendants know about your hearing loss so that they can communicate any relevant information to you during your flight. This is especially helpful because it can be challenging to hear announcements made during a flight.
- Also, on-board entertainment (TV shows, music, movies) may not have closed captioning so be sure to plan accordingly.
- You can request disability seating which is typically closer to the front of the aircraft. This allows you to board early and gives you increased visual access to flight attendants which can help you better follow in-flight announcements.
These tips can support you and your hearing needs while you travel, helping you fully enjoy your trip!