Vacationing With Hearing Loss: Your Guide to a Safe, Enjoyable Trip!

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

There are two types of vacations, right? One type is Packed with activities at all times. These are the trips that are remembered for years later and are packed with adventure, and you go back to work more tired than you left.

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

There’s no right or wrong way to vacation. Whatever method you choose, however, untreated hearing loss can put your vacation at risk.

Your vacation can be spoiled by hearing loss

There are some distinct ways that hearing loss can make a vacation more challenging, especially if you don’t recognize you have hearing loss. Look, hearing loss can sneak up on you like nobody’s business, many individuals have no clue they have it. They just keep cranking the volume on their tv louder and louder.

The nice thing is that there are some proven ways to lessen the effect hearing loss could have on your vacation. The first move, of course, will be to make an appointment for a hearing screening if you haven’t already. The more prepared you are ahead of time, the easier it will be to diminish any power hearing loss could have over your fun, rest, and relaxation.

How can hearing loss effect your vacation

So how can your next vacation be adversely impacted by hearing loss? Well, there are a number of ways. And while some of them may seem a bit trivial at first, they tend to add up! Here are some common instances:

  • You can miss out on the vibrancy of a new place: Your experience can be rather dull when everything you hear is muted. After all, your favorite vacation place is alive with unique sounds, like bustling street sounds or singing birds.
  • Getting beyond language barriers can be frustrating: Managing a language barrier is already hard enough. But deciphering voices with hearing loss, particularly when it’s very noisy, makes it much more difficult.
  • Important notices come in but you frequently miss them: Perhaps you’re waiting for your train or plane to board, but you don’t ever hear the announcement. This can throw your entire vacation timing out of whack.
  • Meaningful moments with friends and family can be missed: Maybe your friend just told a great joke that everyone loved, except you couldn’t make out the punchline. Important and enriching conversations can be missed when you have neglected hearing loss.

Of course, if you’re wearing your hearing aids, some of these negative impacts can be mitigated and minimized. Which means the proper way to keep your vacation moving in the right direction and stress free is to take care of your hearing needs before you go.

How to get ready for your vacation when you have hearing loss

That doesn’t mean that you can’t go on a trip if you have hearing loss. Not by any Means! But it does mean that, when you’re dealing with hearing loss, a little bit of extra planning and preparation, can help make sure your vacation goes as smoothly as possible. Whether or not you have hearing loss, this is clearly practical travel advice.

Here are some things you can do to ensure hearing loss doesn’t negatively effect your next vacation:

  • Pre-planning is a smart plan: When you have to figure things out as you go, that’s when hearing loss can present some difficulties, so don’t be too spontaneous and prepare as much as you can.
  • Pack extra batteries: There’s nothing worse than your hearing aid dying on day 1 because your batteries quit. Remember to bring some spare batteries. Now, you might be thinking: can I bring spare batteries in my luggage? Well, possibly, check with your airline. You may need to store your batteries in your carry-on depending on the kind of battery.
  • Clean your hearing aids: It’s a smart plan to make sure your hearing aids are clean and functioning correctly before you hop on a plane, train, or automobile. If you have clean hearing aids, you’re less likely to have difficulties on vacation. It’s also a good idea to make certain your suggested maintenance is current!

Tips for traveling with hearing aids

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

  • When I’m in the airport, how well will I be able to hear? That will depend, some airports are very noisy during certain times of the day. But most modern airports will have a telecoil device fitted throughout many areas. This is a simple wire device (although 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 loud and chaotic.
  • Is it ok to use my hearing aids longer than usual? Hearing aids are designed to be worn every day, all day. So, any time you aren’t sleeping, showering, or going for a swim (or in a super loud setting), you should be wearing your devices.
  • Do I have some rights I need to know about? Before you leave it’s not a bad idea to get familiar with your rights. If you have hearing loss, you’ll have many rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. But basically, it boils down to this: information must be accessible to you. Speak with an airport official about a solution if you think you’re missing some information and they should be able to help.
  • Is it ok to take a flight with hearing aids in? You won’t have to turn off your hearing aids when you get that “all electronics must be off” spiel. But it’s a good plan to enable flight mode if your hearing aid relies heavily on Bluetooth connectivity or wifi. Some of the in-flight announcements may be hard to hear so be certain that you let the flight attendants know about your hearing loss.
  • Do I need to take out my hearing aids when I go through TSA security? You can keep your hearing aids in when you go through the security screening process. Having said that, letting the TSA agents know you’re wearing hearing aids is always a good idea. Don’t ever let your hearing aids go through an X-ray machine or conveyor belt. Conveyor-belt style X-ray machines can create a static charge that can damage your hearing devices.
  • How helpful is my smartphone? Your smartphone is very useful, not shockingly. You can use your smartphone to find directions to your destination, translate foreign languages, and if you have the correct type of hearing aid, you can use your smartphone to adjust your settings to your new environment. You may be able to take some stress off your ears if you’re able to use your phone like this.

Life is an adventure, and that includes vacations

Whether you have hearing loss or not, vacations are hard to predict. At times, the train can go off the rails. So be prepared for the unexpected and try to have a good attitude.

That way you’ll still feel as if your plans are moving in the right direction even when the unavoidable challenge happens.

Of course, the other side to that is that preparation can make a difference. With the right preparation, you can be sure you have options when something goes awry, so an inconvenience doesn’t turn into a disaster.

For people who have hearing loss, this preparation often starts by getting your hearing tested and making sure you have the hardware and care you need. And that’s the case whether you’re going to every museum in New York City (vacation type number one) or taking it easy on a beach in Mexico (vacation type number two).

Want to be certain you can hear the big world out there but still have concerns? Make 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.

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