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

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

There are two kinds of vacations, right? One kind is Packed with activities at all times. This type will leave you more exhausted than when you left but all of the adventures will be recalled for years to come.

The other kind is all about relaxing. You may not even do much of anything on this kind of vacation. Maybe you spend the entire time on the beach with some drinks. Or possibly you spend your whole vacation at some kind of resort, getting spoiled the whole time. These types of vacations will leave you really rested and recharged.

Everyone has their own idea of the perfect vacation. But neglected hearing loss can put a damper on whichever kind of vacation you choose.

Your vacation can be ruined by hearing loss

Your vacation can become a difficulty if you have hearing loss, particularly if you don’t know you have it. Look, hearing loss can creep up on you like nobody’s business, many people have no idea they have it. On all their devices, the volume just keeps going up and up.

The good news is that there are some proven ways to minimize the effect hearing loss might have on your vacation. The first step, of course, will be to schedule a hearing screening if you haven’t already. The effect that hearing loss has on your good times will be greatly diminished the more ready you are before you go.

How can your vacation be impacted by hearing loss

So how can hearing loss negatively effect your next vacation? Well, there are a couple of ways. And while some of them may seem a little insignificant at first, they have a tendency to add up! Some common examples include the following:

  • Getting past language barriers can be frustrating: Coping with a language barrier is already hard enough. But deciphering voices with hearing loss, particularly when it’s very noisy, makes it much harder.
  • You miss crucial notices: Maybe you’re waiting for your train or plane to board, but you never hear the announcement. And as a consequence, your entire vacation schedule is thrown into total chaos.
  • Meaningful moments with friends and relatives can be missed: Everyone loved the funny joke that your friend just told, but unfortunately, you missed the punchline. Significant and enriching conversations can be missed when you have neglected hearing loss.
  • You can miss out on the vibrancy of a new place: 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.

A number of these negative outcomes can be prevented by simply using your hearing aids. Which means the best way to keep your vacation moving in the right direction and stress free is to take care of your hearing needs before you go.

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

All of this isn’t to say that hearing loss makes a vacation impossible. Not by any Means! But it does mean that, when you have hearing loss, a little bit of extra planning and preparation, can help ensure your vacation goes as smoothly as possible. Whether you have hearing loss or not, this is clearly good travel advice.

Here are a few things you can do to ensure hearing loss doesn’t negatively effect your next vacation:

  • Bring extra batteries: Having your hearing aids die on the first day is the worst! Always make sure you bring spares! So are you allowed to bring spare batteries on a plane? The precise rules and guidelines will depend on which airline you’re using. You might be required to put your batteries in your carry-on depending on the type of battery.
  • Pre-planning is a smart plan: It’s okay to remain spontaneous to a degree, but the more planning you do beforehand, the less you’ll need to figure things out on the fly (and that’s when hearing loss can present more challenges).
  • Keep your hearing aids clean: Before you head out on your travels, make sure you clean your hearing aids. If you have clean hearing aids, you’re less likely to have difficulties on vacation. It’s also a good plan to make certain your recommended maintenance is up to date!

Tips for traveling with hearing aids

Finally, it’s time to hit the road now that all the planning and preparation have been done! Or maybe it’s the airways. Before you head out to the airport, there are a number of things about flying with hearing aids you should certainly know about.

  • Is it ok to use my hearing aids longer than normal? Hearing aids are designed to be used every day, all day. So you should be wearing your hearing aids whenever you’re not in an extremely loud place, swimming, or showering.
  • Will I be able to hear well in the airport? That depends, some airports are very noisy during certain times of the day. But a telecoil device will normally be installed in many areas of most modern airports. This is a simple wire device (though 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 loud and chaotic.
  • Do I have to take my hearing aids out when I go through TSA security? You can keep your hearing aids in when you go through the security screening process. Having said that, letting the TSA agents know you’re wearing hearing aids is always a good plan. If there is any kind of conveyor belt or X-ray machines, be certain that your hearing aids don’t go through that belt. Conveyor-belt style X-ray machines can create a static charge that can damage your hearing devices.
  • Can I use my hearing aids on the plane? You won’t have to turn your hearing aids off when you hear that “all electronics must be off” announcement. That said, you might want to activate flight mode on hearing aids that heavily rely on wifi or Bluetooth connectivity. You might also want to tell the flight attendants you have hearing loss, as there could be announcements during the flight that are hard to hear.
  • How helpful is my smartphone? Your smartphone is very helpful, not surprisingly. You can utilize your smartphone to get directions to your destination, translate foreign languages, and if you have the right kind of hearing aid, you can use your smartphone to adjust your settings to your new environment. If your phone is prepared to do all that (and you know how to use all those apps), it could take some stress off your ears.
  • Do I have some rights I need to know about? Before you travel it’s never a bad plan to get familiar with your rights. If you’re dealing with hearing loss, you’ll have lots of rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. But essentially, it amounts to this: information must be available to you. Speak with an airport official about a solution if you think you are missing some information and they should be able to help.

Life is an adventure, and that includes vacations

Vacations are hard to predict with or without hearing loss. Not everything is going to go right all the time. So be prepared for the unforeseen and try to have a positive mindset.

That way you’ll still feel like your plans are on track even when the unavoidable challenge occurs.

Of course, the flip side to that is that preparation can make a difference. With the right preparation, you can make sure you have options when something goes awry, so an inconvenience doesn’t grow into a catastrophe.

For people with hearing loss, this preparation often begins by having your hearing assessed and making sure you have the hardware and care you need. And that’s the case 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? Give us a call today!

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.