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

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

Aren’t there a couple of types of vacation? One kind is Packed with activities at all times. These are the trips that are recalled for years later and are full of adventure, and you head back to work more tired than you left.

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

Everyone has their own idea of the perfect vacation. But untreated hearing loss can jeopardize whichever kind of vacation you take.

Hearing loss can ruin a vacation

Your vacation can become a difficulty if you have hearing loss, especially 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 cranking the volume on their television up and up and up.

But the effect that hearing loss can have on a vacation can be reduced with some proven strategies, and that’s the good news. Making an appointment for a hearing exam is definitely the first step. The more ready you are before you go, the easier it will be to reduce any power hearing loss might have over your fun, rest, and relaxation.

How can your vacation be impacted by hearing loss

So how can hearing loss negatively effect your next vacation? There are actually a small number of ways as it turns out. Individually, they might not seem like that big of a deal. But when they begin to add up it can become a real problem. Some common examples include the following:

  • The vibrant life of a new place can be missed: Your experience can be rather dull when everything you hear is dull. After all, your favorite vacation place is alive with unique sounds, like bustling street sounds or singing birds.
  • Special moments with friends and relatives can be missed: Everybody enjoyed the great joke that your friend just told, but unfortunately, you missed the punchline. Important and enriching conversations can be missed when you have neglected hearing loss.
  • Getting past language barriers can be overwhelming: It’s hard enough to contend with a language barrier. But deciphering voices with hearing loss, especially when it’s very loud, makes it much harder.
  • You miss crucial notices: Maybe you miss your flight because you failed to hear the boarding call. And as a consequence, your entire vacation schedule is cast into total disarray.

A number of these negative situations can be averted by simply wearing your hearing aids. Which means the proper way to keep your vacation moving in the right direction and stress free is to manage your hearing needs before you start.

How to prepare for your vacation when you’re dealing with hearing loss

That doesn’t mean that you can’t go on vacation if you have hearing loss. That’s not at all true! But it does mean that, when you have hearing loss, a little bit of additional planning and preparation, can help make sure your vacation goes as easily as possible. Of course, that’s pretty common travel advice no matter how good your hearing is.

Here are a few things you can do to ensure hearing loss doesn’t negatively impact your next vacation:

  • Keep your hearing aids clean: Before you go out on your travels, be certain that you clean your hearing aids. If you have clean hearing aids, you’re less likely to have difficulties on vacation. It’s also a good idea to make sure your recommended maintenance is up to date!
  • Pack extra batteries: There’s nothing worse than your hearing aid dying the first day because your batteries went dead. Always make certain you bring spares! So are you allowed to bring spare batteries on a plane? The exact rules and guidelines will depend on the airline. Some kinds of batteries need to be kept in your carry-on.
  • Pre-planning is a smart plan: When you need to figure things out on the fly, that’s when hearing loss can present some difficulties, so don’t be too spontaneous and prepare as much as possible.

Hearing aid travel tips

Once all the preparation and planning is done, it’s time to hit the road! Or maybe it’s the airways. Before you go out to the airport, there are some things about going on a plane with hearing aids you should certainly know about.

  • Should I be aware of my rights? It’s not a bad idea! In general, it’s smart to familiarize yourself with your rights before you travel. Under the American Disabilities Act, people with hearing loss have lots of special rights. But basically, it amounts to this: information must be accessible to you. Speak with an airport official about a solution if you feel like you’re missing some information and they will most likely be able to help.
  • Do I have to take out my hearing aids when I go through TSA security? You won’t be required to remove your hearing aids for the security screening. It’s generally a good idea 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 don’t go through that belt. Conveyor-belt style X-ray machines can generate a static charge that can damage your hearing devices.
  • 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 most modern airports will have a telecoil device installed throughout many areas. This is a basic wire device (though 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.
  • Can I use my hearing aids while I’m on the plane? You won’t need to turn off your hearing aids when you hear that “all electronics must be off” announcement. 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 be certain that you tell the flight attendant about your hearing loss.
  • Will my smartphone be useful? This will not be surprising, but your smartphone is extremely helpful! You can use your smartphone to find directions to your destination, translate foreign languages, and if you have the right type of hearing aid, you can use your smartphone to adjust your settings to your new environment. You may be able to take some strain off your ears if you’re able to utilize your phone in this way.
  • If I wear my hearing aids more than usual, is that ok? Hearing aids are meant to be used every day, all day. So you should be wearing your hearing aids whenever you’re not in an extremely loud place, swimming, or showering.

Life is an adventure, and that includes vacations

Whether you have loss of hearing or not, vacations are unpredictable. Sometimes, the train can go off the rails. So be prepared for the unexpected and try to have a good mindset.

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

But you will be caught off guard less if you put together good preparations. With the right preparation, you can be sure you have options when something goes awry, so an inconvenience doesn’t grow into a catastrophe.

Getting a hearing test and making sure you have the correct equipment is usually the beginning of that preparation for individuals with hearing loss. And whether you’re on vacation number one (sightseeing in the city), or vacation number two (chilling on a tropical beach somewhere), this advice will still hold.

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.