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 recalled for years later and are packed with adventure, and you go back to work more tired than you left.

Then there are the relaxing kinds of vacations. You may not even do much of anything on this type of vacation. Perhaps you spend a lot of time on the beach with some drinks. Or maybe you spend your entire vacation at some sort of resort, getting pampered the whole time. These are the peaceful and relaxing kinds of vacations.

Everybody has their own concept of the perfect vacation. Whichever method you prefer, however, neglected hearing loss can put your vacation in jeopardy.

Your vacation can be ruined by hearing loss

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

The nice thing is that there are a few proven ways to lessen the effect hearing loss might have on your vacation. The first move, of course, will be to schedule a hearing screening if you haven’t already. The more prepared you are ahead of time, the easier it will be to minimize 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 adversely impacted by hearing loss? There are actually a few ways as it turns out. Individually, they might not seem like that big of a deal. But when they begin to compound it can become a real problem. Here are some common examples:

  • Getting beyond language barriers can be overwhelming: It’s hard enough to deal with a language barrier. But neglected hearing loss can make it even more difficult to understand voices (particularly in a noisy setting).
  • You miss important notices: Maybe you miss your flight because you failed to hear the boarding call. And as a result, your whole vacation schedule is cast into total disarray.
  • You can miss important moments with family and friends: Perhaps your friend just told a great joke that everybody loved, except you couldn’t hear the punchline. Important and enriching conversations can be missed when you have neglected hearing loss.
  • The vibrant life of a new place can be missed: Your experience can be rather lackluster when everything you hear is dull. After all, your favorite vacation place is alive with unique sounds, like active street sounds or singing birds.

Of course, if you’re wearing your hearing aids, some of these negative effects can be mitigated and minimized. So, taking care of your hearing needs is the best way to keep your vacation moving in the right direction.

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

That doesn’t mean that you can’t go on a trip if you have hearing loss. That’s not at all the case! But with a bit of additional planning and preparation, your vacation can still be enjoyable and fairly hassle-free. Of course, that’s pretty common travel advice no matter how strong your hearing is.

You can be sure that hearing loss won’t have a negative effect on your vacation, here are some things you can do:

  • Clean your hearing aids: Before you leave on your travels, be certain that you clean your hearing aids. This can help avoid problems from developing while you’re on your vacation. It’s also a good idea to make certain your suggested maintenance is up to date!
  • Bring extra batteries: Having your hearing aids quit on the first day is no fun! Remember to bring some spare batteries. Now, you might be thinking: can I bring spare batteries in my luggage? Well, possibly, check with your airline. Some kinds of batteries need to be stored in your carry-on.
  • Pre-planning is a smart plan: When you need to figure things out as you go, that’s when hearing loss can present some challenges, so don’t be too spontaneous and plan as much as possible.

Hearing aid travel tips

Once all the planning and preparation is done, it’s time to hit the road! Or, well, the airways, possibly. Before you head out to the airport, there are a number of things about going on a plane with hearing aids you should certainly be aware of.

  • Do I have 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 generally a good plan to tell the TSA agents that you’re wearing them. Never let your hearing aids go through an X-ray machine or conveyor belt. Conveyor-belt style X-ray machines can create a static charge that can damage your hearing devices.
  • If I use my hearing aids more than usual, is that ok? Most hearing specialists will suggest that you use your hearing aids all day, every day. So you should be wearing your hearing aids whenever you aren’t in a really noisy place, swimming, or showering.
  • Will I be able to hear well in the airport? That will depend, some airports are very noisy during certain times of the day. But most modern airports will have a telecoil device setup throughout many areas. 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 loud and chaotic.
  • Is it ok to fly with hearing aids in? When they tell you it’s time to turn off your electronic devices, you won’t be required to turn your hearing aids off. That said, you may want to enable flight mode on hearing aids that rely heavily on wifi or Bluetooth connectivity. You might also want to let the flight attendants know you have hearing loss, as there could be announcements during the flight that are difficult to hear.
  • How useful is my smartphone? This will not be surprising, but your smartphone is very useful! You can utilize your smartphone to find directions to your destination, translate foreign languages, and if you have the right kind of hearing aid, you can use your smartphone to adjust your settings to your new environment. If your phone is capable of doing all that (and you know how to use all those apps), it may take some stress off your ears.
  • Do I have some rights I need to be aware of? Before you travel it’s not a bad plan to get familiar with your rights. Under the American Disabilities Act, individuals with hearing loss have many special rights. Basically, you must have access to information. So if you think you’re missing out on some info, let an airport official know that you have hearing loss and they should offer a solution.

Vacations are one of life’s many adventures

Whether you have loss of hearing or not, vacations are hard to predict. At times, the train can go off the rails. So be prepared for the unforeseen and try to have a positive attitude.

That way you’ll still feel like your plans are on track even when the inevitable challenge arises.

However, the other side to that is that preparation can make a difference. With the right preparation, you can be sure you have options when something goes wrong, so an inconvenience doesn’t turn into a disaster.

For those who have hearing loss, this preparation often starts by having your hearing tested and making sure you have the hardware and care you require. And that’s the case whether you’re visiting every museum in New York City (vacation type number one) or lounging around on a beach in Mexico (vacation type number two).

Still have some questions or 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.