Latest posts by Jeff Baller, Au.D., CCC-A (see all)
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Traveling with hearing loss may pose some challenges, but there’s no reason to miss out on a new adventure. The use of hearing aids and other assistive listening devices makes traveling more accessible, whether you’re going on a road trip or jetting to the other side of the world. Numerous tourist destinations and historical venues provide accommodations for guests, including assistance for people with hearing loss.
Before you take a trip, make sure to stop by Professional Hearing Services for all of your hearing needs. You’ll want to make sure you have extra hearing aid batteries or an extra charger. If you’ve noticed changes in your hearing, you may also want to get an updated hearing evaluation because you certainly don’t want to miss any of the sights and sounds while you are traveling! Here are some other tips to make sure you have a safe and rewarding adventure.
Do your homework
Before you book your hotel, check to see if they have accommodations for people with hearing loss. Many hotels now offer amenities for people who are hard of hearing, including flashing lights for the phone and the door knocker. If you plan to be a part of a tour group, talk to the booking agency about accommodations for your hearing needs.
Public venues, such as theaters, museums, performance venues, and historical sites, often offer hearing loops or other hearing assistive technology if requested. E-mail the facilities you plan to visit to get the most up-to-date information on their accommodations. If you are visiting a foreign country that does not offer English translations, check the internet for words and phrases you might see on signage that would show there is assistance for the hearing impaired. For example, asistencia auditive means hearing assistance in Spanish.
It is also helpful to learn about your destination, including some of the tourist areas you plan to visit, before you go. If you familiarize yourself with the names and the history – including the names of some historical figures and places – you will be more easily able to understand what a guide is saying.
Use technology to your advantage
There are plenty of free or sponsored apps that may be useful when traveling. Rail lines and airlines offer apps where you can download timetables and maps to your phone. A number of these apps have an alert feature that lets you know about delays or gate changes. Try practicing with the apps beforehand, so you are familiar with the features and can quickly navigate the app.
Great Britain has several apps that give specific information for tourist areas on what is offered for travelers that need assistance. It lists what technology, like hearing loops, are available at sites. The Google Maps app includes a feature that provides information on when popular restaurants usually have dining openings.
If you want to try a restaurant or diner but are worried about the noise, click on the business, then click the pin for “further information” and go to the section called popular times. For quieter dining, try to avoid the popular times.
Don’t be shy
Tell your tour guide and traveling companions about your hearing loss and give them suggestions on how they can help. Ask to be seated where you can see the guide’s face when they are talking. Ask them to speak clearly and to try not to block their face with their microphone. Bring an assistive listening device, such as an FM system that they can wear if you need the guide’s voice streamed to your hearing aids. If they are giving directions to areas you might want to visit, ask them to write it down. Bring a small pad of paper and a pen so they have something to jot instructions down for you.
Bring ear protection
Concerts or theatre performances can be loud in unfamiliar venues. Bring ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones. Remember, waterfalls, rushing rivers and even crashing waves may be loud enough to disturb you so play it safe and pack your ear protection.
Pack extra items
Pack extra batteries, an extra charger, and a voltage converter. If you are traveling to a damp, wet climate, consider investing in a dehumidifying unit and materials to clean your hearing aids. Pack extra hearing aid batteries if you are going to be gone for a lengthy amount of time.
Here at Professional Hearing Services, we believe that treating hearing loss reconnects you to the sounds of your life and keeps you active. We think it’s great that you are traveling! Be sure to visit us at Professional Hearing Services for all your “traveler” needs!