Traveling, either for business or pleasure, is usually an enjoyable activity. But for the hearing impaired, it presents unique challenges that can affect their ability to communicate, turning a fun trip into a stressful situation. Being prepared and adhering to the following tips can make the experience a much more pleasurable one for the traveler dependent upon hearing aids.
- Stock up on hearing aid batteries before leaving home. Most hearing aid batteries last 5-14 days; be sure you’ve got enough to last for the duration of your trip, plus extras just in case.
- Arrive early at the airport, train depot, or bus terminal, and let the boarding agent know that you are hearing-impaired. Special arrangements can be made with flight attendants or other employees to communicate information to you in person so you won’t miss any important announcements. Feel free to ask fellow travelers for help, as well – most will be glad to offer assistance.
- Rely on your smartphone for sending and receiving text messages that will allow you to communicate with traveling companions or access public resources. Look for applications geared toward travelers; these can be useful for storing reservation information, alerting you to flight delays, and providing you with maps or directions.
- Leave your hearing aids in while traveling through security checkpoints. Inform the TSA agent you are hearing impaired if you’ll need assistance with instructions.
- Bring along a waterproof bag to protect your hearing aids and batteries, and a drying kit or dehumidifier if traveling to a humid location.
- Book hotel rooms with hearing accessible accommodations when possible. Many hotels offer closed caption televisions, visual alerting devices and looping technology.
- Pack your hearing aid equipment in carry-on luggage rather than checked bags to avoid inadvertent loss.
- Bring along printed copies of hotel reservations and other important documents.