Janice S. Lintz is the CEO of Hearing Access & Innovations, Inc. and has traveled to 92 countries.
Having a hearing loss shouldn’t stop you—or anyone—from traveling. The following tips will ensure a smoother trip:
1. Sign up for travel alerts via email or text to avoid missing a flight. Gate/flight attendants, right or wrong, tend to forget to notify people of changes.
2. Have your hearing loss and any accommodation it requires noted in your passenger/hotel profile in case of an emergency.
3. Specify in writing the specific hearing access you need when booking a room. Otherwise, you’re likely to receive a wheelchair-accessible room. Hotels should offer a simple remote to activate the television’s closed captions, wake/shake/visual alerts and a hearing-aid-compatible telephone or TTY depending on your needs.
4. Research the places you plan to visit to determine the access available. Advise them ahead of time in writing of the accommodation you’ll require. Send a letter if you don’t receive the requested access. Access will only change if people complain.
5. Take extra batteries and back-ups of your hearing aids/processors. Running out of batteries can ruin a trip. The same is true if your hearing aid/processor breaks.
6. Bring a paper and pen to communicate in a noisy setting.
7. Pack a portable dehumidifier to dry out hearing aids/processors if traveling to a humid location. Sweat and humidity may affect their performance.
8. Transport all your supplies in a case in your carry-on bag to ensure everything remains intact. Store the bag in your in-room safe to avoid potential theft or loss. Check your homeowner’s policy to confirm coverage when traveling domestically and internationally.
9. Mention your hearing loss in advance to the TSA or customs personnel to avoid misunderstandings. Removing hearing aids/cochlear implant processors during TSA screening is unnecessary. Have a copy of the rules with you to avoid issues.
10. Load an iPad with movies since very few airlines offer closed captioning for in-flight programming. The good news is airlines such as Virgin are beginning to offer closed captions on some flights.
11. Take the hotel’s business card and written directions to ensure you arrive at the proper destination.
12. Safeguard your hearing aids/processors while swimming with an AquaVault portable safe. It solves the issue of where to store your hearing aids when you remove them to swim. The lightweight safe attaches to the back of your lounge chair and easily fits in your luggage. A thief would have to remove the entire lounge chair to steal the safe.
Most importantly, have fun!