Tips for traveling with hearing loss
From hotels to public transit, here's how to travel smarter with hearing loss and hearing aids
Regardless of whether you’re taking a quick business trip or an extended vacation, if you’ve got hearing loss, it’s always a good idea to plan ahead. Doing so will reduce the time and effort you spend on your hearing loss. Here are a few of the essentials to help you get ready when traveling with hearing loss.
Before you go
When you make a reservation
Hotels in the US are legally required to set aside a certain number of rooms for people who are deaf or who have hearing loss. When you make your reservation, make sure to ask for a hearing-accessible room. If none are available on the dates you’re traveling, you may want to look for a different hotel.
What makes a hotel room hearing accessible? It varies, but generally ADA law requires that these types of rooms have:
Travel kits for the hearing impaired that include these items also are available online.
What to pack if you have hearing loss
A day or two ahead of time, make a packing list so you don’t forget any of your hearing device essentials. A checklist of the basics include:
Get a hearing aid tune up, if needed
Before you leave town, you may want to check in with your hearing healthcare professional. These sorts of visits are often free or require a small office visit fee. Ask them to check your hearing devices to make sure they are clean and working properly. Tell them where you are going and what types of listening environments you anticipate. Together you can determine what adjustments, if any, need to be made to your devices so you can hear effectively while you’re away from home.
Traveling by car
If you’re planning to fill up the tank and hit the highway, buckle up, of course! You won’t have to pass through security or worry about hearing last-minute gate changes, but you may have other challenges. Here are some suggestions, and be sure to check out our in-depth piece on driving with hearing loss:
Traveling by public transportation or airplane
Taking a plane, train or bus? Regardless of which mode of transportation you choose, you will likely find yourself in some pretty noisy, even chaotic, environments. Be sure to keep the following in mind:
During your trip
Hearing aid problems
If your hearing aids start giving you trouble while you’re traveling, our troubleshooting guide can help you problem-solve on the fly. Also, keep in mind the weather conditions—wet, wintry weather can damage hearing aids.
Need immediate help with hearing aids? Our directory has thousands of hearing aid clinics.
When searching for a spot for lunch, seek out food stands and cafes with outdoor seating and quiet corners. Excess noise and loud interior spaces make it difficult to hear and focus on the conversation with the ones you love. Having an eye for ear-friendly locales can cut back on the stress and mental exhaustion it takes to decipher multiple sounds at once.
If you’re traveling to a foreign country
If you’re traveling internationally where the people speak an unfamiliar language, communication is difficult enough without factoring in your hearing loss. There are a number of things you can do to facilitate communication, including:
Planning is key
Being your own advocate can make a huge difference in the quality of your vacation. If you take a little time to research your trip before you go, you’ll save time, feel more confident and be better equipped to enjoy the adventure.