Summer is around the corner, which means many of us will want to take advantage of the good weather by traveling. A little advance preparation can help the trip go more smoothly for those of us who travel with hearing loss. Here are some tips to help.
Tips for Planning Ahead
- Make as many arrangements in advance as possible and print out your reservation information, tickets, event info and maps.
- Pack extra batteries for your hearing aids.
- Take the 800 number of your hearing aid manufacturer so they can direct you to a local shop if a repair is needed.
- Bring a notepad or have an app on your electronic device to make it easy for people to write a note to you if you can’t understand what was said.
- Pack your Quattro 4.0, or other assistive listening device if you use one, to make sure you can hear the GPS on your rental car, the TV in your hotel room, and friends and family that you visit.
- When visiting museums or theater performances, ask for assistive listening devices.
- Contact the hotel in advance to find out if they have hearing impaired rooms equipped with special phones and fire alarms, etc.
- If taking a tour, ask in advance if assistive listening devices will be provided or consider bringing your own.
- Explain to others you have a hearing impairment and give them tips for communicating with you (ex: speak slowly, get my attention first, rephrase if I didn’t understand you the first time, move to a quieter area. Often times speaking louder is not helpful.)
Tips for Air Travel
Consider the following tips, especially if flying alone.
- Reserve a seat on the aisle and/or near the flight attendants to make it easier to speak with them.
- Know all your flight and gate information and sign up to receive a text for changes.
- Keep your hearing aids on in security and inform the TSA screening agent of your hearing aids. They usually do not pose a problem unless you are wearing a large body aid.
- Tell the gate agent you are hearing impaired and ask if the agent could let you know when it’s time to board. And request pre-boarding privileges, so you can get to your seat and speak with the flight attendants before general boarding.
- Inform the flight attendants you have a hearing loss and let them know what strategies to use when speaking with you (“Please get my attention first and speak slowly.”)
- Ask the person sitting next to you to repeat any cabin announcements you didn’t understand.
- Ask if the in-flight movie is subtitled. Bring a book or your own electronic device for watching movies.
- Sit back and enjoy your flight!
Enjoy your vacation and remember that there will always be a few difficulties when you travel. Roll with the punches!
Lara S Bruce, MA, CCC-SLP
Speech Language & Auditory Therapy
Americans for Better Hearing Foundation