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

Aren’t there a couple of kinds of vacation? One kind is Packed with activities the whole time. This kind will leave you more tired than when you left but all of the adventures will be recalled for years to come.

Then there are the relaxing kinds of vacations. These are the trips where you may not do, well, much of anything. Maybe you drink a bit of wine. Perhaps you spend a day (or two, or three) on the beach. Or possibly you spend your entire vacation at some sort of resort, getting spoiled the whole time. These kinds of vacations will leave you quite rested and recharged.

There’s no right or wrong way to vacation. But untreated hearing loss can put a damper on whichever type of vacation you choose.

Your vacation can be ruined by hearing loss

Your vacation can become a difficulty if you have hearing loss, especially if you don’t know you have it. Many individuals who have hearing loss don’t even recognize they have it and it eventually sneaks up on them. They just keep turning the volume on their tv up and up and up.

The nice thing is that there are some proven ways to reduce the effect hearing loss might have on your vacation. Making an appointment for a hearing exam is definitely the first step. The impact that hearing loss has on your fun times will be greatly diminished the more prepared you are ahead of time.

How can your vacation be effected by hearing loss

So how can hearing loss negatively effect your next vacation? Well, there are a number of ways. By themselves, they might not seem like that big of a deal. But when they start to add up it can become a real issue. Here are a few common examples:

  • You can miss out on the radiance of a new place: Your experience can be rather lackluster when everything you hear is dull. After all, you could miss out on the distinctive bird calls or humming traffic noises that make your vacation spot unique and memorable.
  • Special moments with friends and relatives can be missed: Maybe your friend just told a hilarious joke that everybody enjoyed, except you couldn’t hear the punchline. When you have neglected hearing loss, you can miss important (and enriching) conversations.
  • You miss crucial notices: Maybe you miss your flight because you didn’t hear the boarding call. And as a consequence, your entire vacation schedule is thrown into absolute disarray.
  • Language barriers become even more difficult: Managing a language barrier is already hard enough. But untreated hearing loss can make it even more difficult to understand voices (particularly in a noisy situation).

Some of these negative outcomes can be avoided by simply wearing your hearing aids. Which means the proper way to keep your vacation moving in the right direction and free of stress is to manage your hearing needs before you go.

How to prepare for your vacation when you have hearing loss

That doesn’t mean that you can’t go on a trip if you have hearing loss. Not by any Means! But with a little additional planning and preparation, your vacation can still be enjoyable and fairly stress-free. Whether you have hearing loss or not, this is obviously practical travel advice.

Here are a few things you can do to make sure hearing loss doesn’t negatively impact your next vacation:

  • Pre-planning is a good idea: It’s okay to remain spontaneous to some degree, but the more planning you do before you go, the less you’ll have to figure things out on the fly (and that’s when hearing loss can introduce more challenges).
  • Keep your hearing aids clean: Before you go out on your travels, be certain that you clean your hearing aids. If you have clean hearing aids, you’re not so likely to have difficulties on vacation. It’s also a good plan to make certain your recommended maintenance is current!
  • Bring extra batteries: There’s nothing worse than your hearing aid dying the first day because your batteries quit. Always make sure you bring spares! So are you allowed to take spare batteries on a plane? The precise rules and guidelines will depend on which airline you’re using. Some kinds of batteries must be stored in your carry-on.

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, well, the airways, possibly. Before you go out to the airport, there are some things about flying with hearing aids you should certainly be aware of.

  • If I use my hearing aids more than usual, is that ok? Most hearing specialists will suggest that you wear your hearing aids all day, every day. So, any time you aren’t in bed, taking a shower, or swimming (or in a really noisy setting), you should be using your devices.
  • Can I use my hearing aids while I’m on the plane? You won’t need to turn off your hearing aids when you hear that “all electronics must be off” announcement. But it’s a good plan to activate flight mode if your hearing aid heavily relies on Bluetooth connectivity or wifi. You may also want to let the flight attendants know you have hearing loss, as there may be announcements throughout the flight that are difficult to hear.
  • When I go through the TSA security checkpoint, will I be required to take out my hearing aids? You can wear your hearing aids through the security screening process. That being said, telling the TSA agents you’re wearing hearing aids is always a good plan. If there is any type of conveyor belt or X-ray machines, be certain that your hearing aids don’t go through that belt. Your hearing aids can be damaged by the static charge that these conveyor type X-ray devices create.
  • Do I have some rights I need to know about? It’s a good idea! In general, it’s good to become familiar with your rights before you go. If you’re dealing with hearing loss, you’ll have lots of rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. But essentially, it comes down to this: information has to be accessible to you. Speak with an airport official about a solution if you think you are missing some info and they should be able to help.
  • Will I be able to hear well in an airport? That depends, some airports are quite noisy during certain times of the day. But most modern airports will have a telecoil device setup throughout many areas. This is a simple wire device (although 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 noisy and chaotic.
  • Will my smartphone be helpful? This will not be shocking, but your smartphone is extremely helpful! After you land, you can utilize this device to adjust the settings on your hearing aid (if you have the correct kind of hearing aid), find directions to your destination, and even translate foreign languages. If your phone is capable of doing all that (and you know how to use all those apps), it could take some strain off your ears.

Life is an adventure, and that includes vacations

Vacations are unpredictable with or without hearing loss. Not everything is going to go the way you planned it all the time. So be prepared for the unforeseen and try to have a positive attitude.

That way, when something unforeseen occurs (and it will), it’ll seem like it’s all part of the plan!

But you will be caught off guard less if you make good preparations. When something goes awry, with the right preparations, you can keep it from spiraling out of control.

Having a hearing examination and making sure you have the correct equipment is usually the start of that preparation for people who have hearing loss. And that’s true whether you’re going to every museum in New York City (vacation type number one) or taking it easy on a beach in Mexico (vacation type number two).

Still have some questions or concerns? Call us 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.