9 Travel Tips for Those With Hearing Loss
Traveling with hearing impairment can be challenging, but there are tips and tricks available to make your experience on the go run more smoothly. Try these on for size:
1. Airport security: When passing through, remember that it’s okay to keep your hearing equipment on your person – just make sure to let the TSA agent checking you through know that you have it. It’s best to avoid placing your devices on the carry-on conveyor belt, as it can affect their functionality and generate static electricity.
2. Flight alerts: If you have difficulty hearing intercom announcements about flight delays and travel warnings, set up alerts on your phone if the airport provides them. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to let check-in and gate staff know you have hearing loss so they can inform you of delays, cancellations or gate changes.
3. On the plane: You can keep your hearing aids and cochlear implants running even when the cabin crew asks passengers to turn off all electronic devices – it won’t interfere with the plane’s navigation. If you’re flying alone, it’s a good idea to let both a flight attendant and a nearby passenger know about your hearing loss in case of emergency intercom announcements.
4. Assistive listening devices (ALDs): If you use ALDs, optimize your listening experience. When traveling with someone, clip your lapel microphone to your travel partner’s shoulder strap. If you’re listening to the radio or a music player, clip it to an item of clothing closest to the vehicle’s speakers.
5. Smart packing: Don’t put anything necessary to your hearing in a checked bag in case of luggage loss. To ensure you won’t be without important equipment, batteries, chargers, earpieces, etc., pack these in your carry-on bag. And don’t forget to bring along a notepad and writing utensil to communicate with fellow travelers in case your devices aren’t functioning properly.
6. Staying at hotels: Hotels should have Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) kits, so ask the front-desk staff. Items that should be provided include a visual fire alarm and vibrating alarm clock. And if you’re a TV watcher, make sure to ask for a remote with captioning options – hotel universal remotes often have limited button capabilities.
7. Discounts by train: If you can reach your destination by rail, consider taking advantage of Amtrak discounts for passengers with disabilities – adults and one traveling companion are eligible for a 15-percent discount on tickets.
8. Emergency scenarios: When traveling, it’s a good idea to have identification on you in case of an emergency. You can register on your state’s website for an ID card for people with disabilities or carry a medical alert bracelet if necessary. Otherwise, consider making your own ID card that includes your hearing impairment status, what devices you use and the name and number of your cochlear implant doctor (if applicable).
9. Get extra assistance: Some transportation companies offer additional assistance for passengers with hearing loss. Greyhound, for example, offers disability assistance with booking and priority seating via an assistance line.
Keep these tips in mind when you’re planning your next trip – whether by air, by rail or by land.
Sources: Hearing Loss Association of America, AARP