Traveling With Hearing Loss: Your Guide to a Safe, Enjoyable Trip!

Senior couple with hearing loss watching photos from travel on digital camera during vacation

There are two kinds of vacations, right? One type is full of activities the whole time. These are the vacations that are remembered for years later and are packed with adventure, and you head back to work more exhausted than you left.

The other kind is all about unwinding. These are the trips where you might not do, well, much of anything. Maybe you spend a lot of time on the beach with some cocktails. Or maybe you’re getting spoiled at some resort for your whole vacation. These kinds of vacations will leave you quite rested and recharged.

Everybody has their own idea of the perfect vacation. But neglected hearing loss can put a damper on whichever kind of vacation you choose.

Your vacation can be ruined by hearing loss

Your vacation can become a difficulty if you have hearing loss, particularly if you don’t know you have it. Many individuals who have hearing loss don’t even realize they have it and it eventually creeps up on them. They just keep turning the volume on their television louder and louder.

The nice thing is that there are a few tried and tested ways to reduce the impact hearing loss might have on your vacation. Scheduling a hearing exam is definitely the first step. The more prepared you are before you go, the easier it will be to diminish any power hearing loss might have over your fun, rest, and relaxation.

How can your vacation be impacted by hearing loss

So how can your next vacation be negatively effected by hearing loss? Well, there are a number of ways. Individually, they may not seem like that big of a deal. But when they start to compound it can become a real issue. Here are some common instances:

  • You can miss out on the vibrancy of a new place: Your experience can be rather lackluster when everything you hear is dull. After all, your favorite vacation spot is alive with unique sounds, like active street sounds or singing birds.
  • Meaningful experiences with friends and family can be missed: Maybe your friend just told a great joke that everybody enjoyed, except you couldn’t hear the punchline. Significant and enriching conversations can be missed when you have neglected hearing loss.
  • Language barriers become even more tricky: It’s difficult enough to contend with a language barrier. But neglected hearing loss can make it even more difficult to understand voices (especially in a noisy situation).
  • Essential notices come in but you often miss them: Maybe you miss your flight because you didn’t hear the boarding call. And as a result, your entire vacation schedule is cast into absolute chaos.

Some of these negative situations can be averted by simply wearing your hearing aids. So, managing your hearing requirements is the best way to keep your vacation on track.

If you have hearing loss, how can you get ready for your vacation?

All of this isn’t to say that hearing loss makes a vacation impossible. That’s nowhere near true! But it does mean that, when you’re dealing with hearing loss, a little bit of extra planning and preparation, can help make sure your vacation goes as smoothly as possible. Of course, that’s rather common travel advice no matter how strong your hearing is.

Here are several things you can do to make sure hearing loss doesn’t negatively effect your next vacation:

  • Pre-planning is a good plan: It’s okay to remain spontaneous to a 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: It’s a smart idea to make sure your hearing aids are clean and working correctly before you hop on a plane, train, or automobile. If you have clean hearing aids, you’re not so likely to have difficulties on vacation. It’s also a good plan to make sure your suggested maintenance is up to date!
  • Pack extra batteries: Having your hearing aids quit on the first day is the worst! Remember to bring some spare batteries. So are you allowed to take spare batteries on a plane? Well, maybe, check with your airline. You may need to put your batteries in your carry-on depending on the kind of battery.

Hearing aid travel tips

Finally, it’s time to hit the road now that all the preparation and planning have been done! Or maybe it’s the airways. Before you go out to the airport, there are some things about flying with hearing aids you should definitely be aware of.

  • Will my smartphone be helpful? Your smartphone is very helpful, not shockingly. After you land, you can use this device to change the settings on your hearing aid (if you have the correct kind of hearing aid), get directions to your destination, and even translate foreign languages. If your phone is prepared to do all that (and you know how to use all those apps), it could take some strain off your ears.
  • Do I need to take out my hearing aids when I go through TSA security? You can keep your hearing aids in when you go through the security screening process. It’s usually a good plan to let the TSA agents know you’re wearing them. If there is any type of conveyor belt or X-ray machines, make sure your hearing aids do not go through that belt. Conveyor-belt style X-ray machines can produce a static charge that can damage your hearing devices.
  • Is it ok to wear my hearing aids longer than normal? Hearing aids are designed to be used every day, all day. So you should be using your hearing aids whenever you aren’t in an extremely loud setting, swimming, or showering.
  • Do I have some rights I need to know about? Before you leave it’s never a bad idea to get familiar with your rights. If you have hearing loss, you’ll have lots of rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Basically, you must have access to information. So if you think you’re missing out on some information, let an airport official know that you have hearing loss and they should offer help.
  • Is it ok to take a flight with hearing aids in? You won’t need to turn off your hearing aids when you get that “all electronics must be off” spiel. That said, you might want to enable flight mode on hearing aids that heavily rely on wifi or Bluetooth connectivity. Some of the in-flight announcements may be difficult to hear so make sure you let the flight attendants know about your hearing loss.
  • Will I be able to hear well in the airport? How well you can hear in the airport will depend on which airport it is and what time of day. But a telecoil device will normally be installed in many areas of most modern airports. This is a basic 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.

Life is an adventure, and that includes vacations

Vacations are hard to predict with or without hearing loss. At times, the train can go off the rails. So be prepared for the unexpected and try to have a good mindset.

That way, when something unexpected takes place (and it will), it’ll feel like it’s all part of the plan!

Of course, the other side to that is that preparation can make a difference. When something goes wrong, with the correct preparations, you can keep it from spiraling out of control.

For individuals with hearing loss, this preparation often begins by having your hearing assessed and making sure you have the hardware and care you need. And that’s the case whether you’re visiting every museum in New York City (vacation type number one) or hanging out on a beach in Mexico (vacation type number two).

Want to be certain you can hear the big world out there but still have concerns? Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing exam!

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.