Traveling can reduce stress, enhance creativity and expand horizons. But it can also bring its own sense of anxiety in the preparation, particularly if you are a hearing aid wearer. As you contemplate your next trip with excitement, here are some reminders for lightening the pressure of traveling with hearing aids.
Pack the essentials together
Regardless of your method of getting there, perhaps the most useful way to prepare for your vacation or business travel is to designate a carrying case or bag for your hearing aids and equipment. Choose a brightly colored bag so that you are less likely to forget or overlook the bag as you change lodgings. Pack an extra battery or two in case you need a backup. Be diligent about keeping your hearing aids and necessary accessories together and maintain your daily cleaning schedule to keep them operating in tip top shape.
If you’re taking a road trip:
There is nothing like hitting the open road with a map (digital or analog) and exploring the highways and byways on your own terms. If you are new to hearing aids, you may want to get a little practice under your belt before you embark upon the Great American Roadtrip. If you have become comfortable driving with your hearing aids, there are a few reminders that can make your trip a little safer and more enjoyable.
Eliminate unnecessary distractions
By all means, cue up the audiobook, podcast or road trip playlist you’ve been aching to hear. But keep in mind that your concentration can be diverted by excessive noise. Budget in time for silence so that your ears can have a rest and your brain can fully focus on the road before you and the activity around you.
If you do want to play music or other media, have it easy to access and don’t change your cd or playlist while you are driving. You can designate another passenger to play DJ or wait until you’re safely pulled over to make transitions.
Ask passengers for quiet conversation
Ensure that the passengers you’re taking along, if any, are aware of your hearing loss and ask for their aid in helping to keep distracting or chaotic conversation to a minimum. This doesn’t mean that you play the silent game the entire trip, but it can help to dissuade sudden exclamations or rowdy conversations that pull your attention away from driving safely.
Familiarize yourself with the route
Have a general idea of the directions for each leg of your trip. Smartphone navigation makes it easy to simply plug in a destination and follow instructions, but it’s a good idea to take a look at the general outline of the route so that you can be prepared for each new directive.
If you’re flying the skies:
Navigating the airport
You might be hopping on an airplane to get to your vacation destination. You can wear hearing aids through airport scanners, but it would be helpful to disclose your hearing aids to TSA agents in case there is an anomaly in your scan.
Check in with airline staff at the gate
Even people with healthy hearing struggle to understand gate announcements. Check in with your airline personnel at the gate service desk and let them know you have trouble hearing so that they can help you stay up to date with pre-boarding flight information.
Keep hearing aids and equipment in carry-on luggage
Have a dedicated space in your carry-on luggage or personal bag for your hearing aids so that in the event you are separated from your checked bags upon arrival, you will still have the important equipment necessary for using your hearing aids.
You can wear hearing aids (even with wireless capabilities) during your flight
Hearing aids, even ones with wireless or bluetooth capabilities, do not need to be removed or adjusted for air travel. That said, some hearing aid wearers choose to turn down their volume or remove hearing aids entirely, as a matter of comfort. Only you can make that decision for yourself based upon your preferences. You can remove them if that would add to your comfort, but do not place them in the seat in front of you. After you remove your hearing aids, always place them back in their designated carrying case in your carry-on luggage. The seat pocket in front of you is a notorious bermuda triangle of lost items and your hearing aids are much too important to misplace!
Just as hearing aids can enhance your daily life, they can make travel and adventure more enjoyable. If you’re anticipating an upcoming trip and haven’t had your hearing aids serviced or adjusted for a long stretch of time, it can be prudent to schedule a maintenance appointment prior to travel. Our team of hearing health professionals are standing ready to make sure that your hearing aids are operating at their peak performance so that all you have to worry about is making your proper travel reservations.