(Last updated Oct 7, 2019)

5 Tips for Traveling with Hearing Loss

Many people travel as a way to relax or to escape daily life, or even to learn about new cultures. Going to a new place can be an enriching experience, but it can also be stressful. You have to find your way around in unknown environments, and even a small mistake can cost you time and money e.g. miss your flight.

When you have hearing loss, your challenge is even greater. A new environment for you means unfamiliar accents, new voices, distorted announcements in train stations or airports. Things like these are hard to hear without a perfect hearing.

But do not fear— if you wear hearing aids, there are things you can do to make traveling a more pleasant experience, The following ideas are not mutually exclusive. Pick the best tip for the kind of trip you’re planning.

1. Know your destinations
Before the trip, take a good look at the destination’s name. Be more careful with difficult-to-pronounce names. Try to memorize unfamiliar names. Take a printout with you with timetables and a map of where the hotel is located.

If you get in a stressful situation, like when being late for the train, being familiar with your itinerary and the locale will help.

2. Let the staff know
Sometimes, people who wear hearing aids feel stressed, worried they may not hear the boarding call. Instead, simply tell the staff at the gate that because of your hearing loss you might miss the announcement. If asked, they will certainly make sure they let you know personally of the boarding call or any important changes, such as gate change.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Some people are shy when it comes to letting other people know about their hearing loss. Privacy is important, but bear in mind that sometimes speaking up about your hearing loss can make your life easier and relieve some travel stress. For example, if you can’t hear the directions from a stranger and asking to repeat once or twice doesn’t work, let them know you need them to face you and speak loudly and clearly.

4. Use apps for train and flights times
It can be quite stressful to decipher the distorted announcements in train stations and airports; fortunately the airline or rail company can make your life easier. My favorite airline app even tells me when it’s time to walk to the gate.

5. Traveling by car? Bring a microphone
If you’re on a road trip or simply in transit via a car, you will find a microphone enormously useful, whether you’re driving or sitting in the passenger seat.

If you’re driving, ask your passenger to wear your microphone, so you can focus on the road ahead and listen with less effort. If you’re not driving, you can point the microphone towards the driver or the passenger who’s speaking. Or even point it to the car’s speakers and hear the radio more clearly.

I hope you have found these tips useful and, if you have travel tips of your own, please share them in the comments!

Gianluca Trombetta Gianluca Trombetta Gianluca Trombetta is a hearing aid user and an expert in living well with hearing loss. He teaches hearing aid users how to maximize their communication abilities even in the most challenging situations at getsuperhumanhearing.com.

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