Traveling with hearing loss can be a challenge. It can be hard to communicate with staff and other tourists, especially if you’re dealing with a language barrier, as well as being hard of hearing. There’s a risk of missing announcements because you can’t hear them. Here are some top tips to make traveling easier if you’re living with hearing loss.
Prepare In Advance
Before you book your hotel, call the reception and ask what accommodations they can provide for travelers with hearing loss. A lot of hotels, especially in popular tourist destinations, will have rooms available that have amenities for people with hearing loss. These amenities might include lights that flash that alert you to the phone ringing or someone knocking on the door. If you’re booking your trip through a tour company, make sure they are aware of your needs so they can properly help you book the right accommodation.
In large cities, a lot of tourist attractions, such as museums, provide hearing loops or other assistive technology if you ask for it. Theaters and performance spaces often have these too. If you know you want to visit, email or call-in advance to make sure you know exactly what you can get.
Before you travel, try to learn a bit about it before you go. Try to familiarize yourself with the names of places, important local figures and similar details. That way, if someone says these names, they will sound more familiar to you and you’ll find it easier to understand them.
Whether you will be travelling by plane, train or car, take the time to download all the relevant apps onto your phone before you set off. Most airline and train company apps have timetables available on them and can send you alerts about gate changes or delays. By using these, you can stay up to date and not worry about missing announcements at the airport or train station. Get used to the apps before you travel, so you’re prepared.
Advocate For Yourself
Don’t be afraid to speak up. Tell your tour guides and any fellow travelers about your hearing loss and give them clear suggestions on how they can best help you to communicate and understand. For example, tell any tour guides that you will need to stay close to them so you can hear them more clearly, or see their face so you can lipread. Ask them to speak clearly and slowly and only when facing you, if they can. Ask for this in advance, so they know what you need.
If you need one, take an assistive listening device, such as a pocket talker or FM system, with you in case you need to transmit the guide’s voice directly to your hearing aids and block out background noise. When you go out to eat, ask for a table in a quieter part of the restaurant or sit outside. You could ask the concierge in the hotel to suggest a quieter restaurant for you to try.
Remind People What You Need
People usually mean well and want to help, but often forget about hearing loss because they can’t see it. Don’t feel afraid to remind people about what you need. If you can’t hear what someone is saying to you and don’t want to interrupt them, you can gently provide a visual clue by holding your hand behind your ear. If you have questions that can wait, try to save them for a quiet moment. If any logistical information is given, such as meeting times for a trip, ask to be given them in a written format so you know you have them right. Take a notebook and a pen with you so you can ask people to write things down if you need to.
Take Ear Protection
Travelling can a noisy thing. If you’re visiting a big city, you’ll have to contend with traffic, lots of people and construction noise. Going to a musical performance can be a lot of fun on vacation, but the volume might be too loud for you. If the noise is too much, turn down or remove your hearing aids and wear some ear protection when you need to. Pack some earplugs in your suitcase, just in case.
If you need advice about how best to travel, it can help you speak to a hearing specialist. To find out more about hearing loss and what a hearing instrument specialist can do for you, call Beck Hearing Aid Centre at (888) 618-3778