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Posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tips for Traveling with Hearing Aids

Family on vacation runs on beach unconcerned by father's hearing aids.

Hearing loss is often called the invisible disability. Not only because it's physically hidden, but because it hinders communication so that individuals with hearing loss find themselves withdrawing from social or traveling opportunities. Investing in hearing aids helps to bridge the gap with communication and socialization, but an added problem then arises with travel--how to travel safely and comfortably with hearing aids. Today, People Hearing Better will give you a few expert tips on just how you can manage a hassle free hearing aid vacation.

“Of all the things I am not very good at, living in the real world is perhaps the most outstanding.”― Bill Bryson, I'm a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After 20 Years Away

Stock Up—if your hearing aid requires them, bring extra tubes and unless your batteries are rechargeable make sure you bring lots of batteries. The typical battery use last between five and fourteen days. Batteries have a color coding that lets you know what size you require. Yellow means your battery is size 10 or 230; brown is size 312, orange is size 13, and blue is size 675. Remember to keep your batteries in a waterproof bag.

Protect— An inexpensive but good investment is a waterproof hat or an umbrella. Dri-aid kit is also useful for trips to help reduce excess moisture and keep hearing aids functioning properly, and you can also purchase a small hearing aid dehumidifier at most well stocked pharmacies.

Insurance--Talk to your audiologist about purchasing insurance for your hearing aids in the event they are lost or stolen. Hearing aid insurance, much like trip insurance, helps to give you peace of mind when traveling.

Service—If you are unsure how to clean your hearing aid or require maintenance before you travel, make an appointment with your audiologist. Your audiologist can make sure your hearing aids are in top working order before you start on your journey. Also remember to pick up the essentials for cleaning your hearing aids a brush, cloth, and wax kit.

Assistive listening devices (ALD)—can help diminish background noise in airports and other noisy public places and make traveling safer. Assistive listening devices serve an important function, allowing people with hearing loss the same accessibility to information and communication as people with average hearing. Speak to your audiologist about which of these exciting accessories would best be suited for your summer travel needs. Hearing Loop LogoHearing Loop Logo Note: When traveling oversees many public places—churches, museums, even taxis, are marked with a hearing loop logo. This means any hearing aid equipped with a T-coil or tele coil can be switched on, delivering news and important information directly into the hearing aids. (90% of today’s hearing aids are equipped with a T-coil or tele coil.)

Traveling by Plane/Airport Survival:
• Security—there is no need to remove your hearing aid when going through screening check points. If you need to interact with security make them aware of your hearing loss. Here are some tips by the TSA
• Security requires that you send your assistive listening devices (ALD) through x-ray screening. X-rays will not hurt the device or for that matter your hearing aid. Occasionally scanners will cause excess noise in your hearing aids, so as a general rule when passing through turn down the volume.
• Ask that alerts like gate changes be sent to your cell phone.
• Despite the warning to, “Turn off all electronic devices” there is no need to turn off your hearing aids when flying. Unless, of course, the pressure in the plane causes you discomfort.

Tips for Traveling by Train:
• Tell a gate attendant that you have hearing loss in case there is a gate change.
• Exercise visual caution in and around train tracks.
• If your hearing aids do not adapt automatically to environmental situations, remember to turn down the volume when boarding the train until you are safely onboard.

Traveling by Car:
• If traveling by car, consider purchasing an extra wide rearview mirror. There are times when a speeding ambulance or police car will go unheard, but can be seen through a large mirror.
• Consider a portable ALD to make phone and radio listening more comfortable or to make it easier to listen to passengers or people in rest stops.
• Consider installing an induction loop for your car. This can help you hear radio, phone, and people better when traveling.

Hotel Rooms:
• Make sure to inform the hotel that you are hearing impaired, so that you can be given a room that meets your needs. Hotels are required to provide rooms accessible for those with hearing loss, so they are sure to get visual notifications for alarms, phones, and doors.
• Keep your room key away from your hearing aid as your hearing aid can demagnetize the key!

Traveling is a hectic, fast paced experience. Often a person with hearing loss finds themselves in difficult listening situations trying to navigate through a sea of people. The most important travel tip of all is to relax and stay calm. The challenges with reaching your destination will fade beneath the bright sun of a fun filled day. Follow the example of the Speak Up Librarian, and remember what Bill Bryson said of travel, "To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted." If you need to speak with a hearing health provider about tuning your hearing aids or upgrading before you set out on your adventure click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

©2011. American Hearing Aid Associates 225 Wilmington - West Chester Pike, Suite 300 Chadds Ford, PA 19317888.575.2511
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