Tips for Traveling with Hearing Aids

Tips for Traveling with Hearing Aids

The holiday season is upon us once again, and that means people will be traveling! With COVID-19 travel restrictions behind us, we can once again move around freely to join friends and family in celebration. While traveling with hearing loss can pose an extra challenge, hearing aids go a long way toward easing the complications. Keep a few of the following tips in mind for a less stressful holiday traveling season!

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare!

Make sure to do some research about the areas you’ll be traveling through, and to. If you’re visiting a place you haven’t been before, you can get the most out of your experience by knowing what kinds of activities, shopping opportunities, museums and other attractions are available there.

Museums in larger cities typically have assistive listening devices (ALDs) on hand, such as hearing loops or FM systems. These systems can work with your hearing aids to help you get the most out of guided tours and lectures. This is also true in most movie theaters, live theaters, houses of worship, and many other public spaces. Call ahead to find out what options are available for those with hearing needs.

It will also be helpful to familiarize yourself with some of the place names, street names, and historical figures you’ll be encountering on your trip. If you have some idea of the proper nouns you’ll encounter, then you’ll be more likely to hear these names correctly when asking for directions or recommendations.

Prepare Technology, Too

You may wish to use apps related to your airline, gas stations, Amtrak, local parking, hotels, and more. It’s helpful to download these apps in advance and open them up prior to your trip. This can save a lot of time while you’re actively trying to navigate in an unfamiliar place!

Of course, you’ll also want to make sure that your smartphone, hearing aids, and other gadgets you use to get around are in good working order. If there are any nagging problems with your technology, get it repaired or replaced before you go! A professional hearing aid cleaning can usually restore a set of hearing aids to “like new” quality, which can improve their performance even if you weren’t noticing any specific problems. Consider scheduling a hearing aid cleaning in advance of your trip to make sure they’re working their best!

Consider ALDs

It may be that your hearing aids work fine without any augmentation from add-ons or ALDs on a day-to-day basis, but when you’re traveling you may discover some new pain points. Wireless microphones—which can clip onto your partner’s clothing—or a battery-powered charging case might prove to be invaluable while you are out and about.

Advocate for Your Needs

Especially if you haven’t seen some family members much since hearing loss became an issue for you, let them know in advance what you need to hear properly. This might be a request that radios, televisions, and other devices are kept off or at very low volume, or that the lights are brighter than normal so you can read lips. You might ask to be seated at a central part of the table at dinner, to better hear everyone else. It is also helpful to let everyone know a thing or two they can do to help you hear them better, such as facing you when they speak, or enunciating clearly.

Bring a Back-Up

If you have an older set of hearing aids, bring them along in case your current pair stops working at some point. If not, consider bringing a personal amplifier to stand in in case your hearing aids malfunction. While hearing aids tend to be very robust devices, things can always go wrong, and you don’t want to miss out on unforgettable moments simply because your hearing aids aren’t working!

Locate a Hearing Aid Center in the Area

If something does go wrong with your hearing aids, it will hopefully be an easy fix. Most hearing aid centers are able to do same-day repairs for most common hearing aid malfunctions. It might help to be aware of a reputable hearing aid center in the area you’ll be traveling to, before you go, in case you need to make a repair in a hurry!

If you or a loved one is having hearing issues and is not yet wearing hearing aids, plan for a memorable holiday season and schedule a hearing test in advance of your get-together!