A guide to travelling for those wearing hearing aids

A trip overseas is a time for fun, festivities and experiencing the unfamiliar. It’s a time to uncover unseen places, visit old friends or try new foods. Most of all an international holiday should be a time to relax. For people with a hearing loss, however, international travel can create feelings of both excitement and trepidation.

Planning an overseas trip doesn’t need to fill you with fear. If you’re worrying about missing boarding announcements at airports, anxious about straining to hear tour guides, or fearing a struggle with negotiating unfamiliar public transport, we have good news. These issues can be addressed with some planning and preparation so you can enjoy your holiday without undue stress.

Keep these tips in mind for your next overseas trip.

Write yourself a pre-travel check list

Pack whatever you need, making sure you’ve got enough of everything to last the trip, plus a couple of extra days to be safe. We recommend packing the following items.

  • Replacement batteries or a device charger. Don’t forget to have an adaptor that is compatible with the country you are travelling to.
  • Extra tubing, audio shoes, sport clips, or other attachable accessories.
  • Dehumidifier for drying hearing aids (if you’re not already using a charger with a drying function).
  • Remote or wireless accessories for connecting your hearing aids to other high-tech devices, FM and/or loop systems.
  • Cleaning equipment for devices and accessories.
  • A mobile phone compatible with your hearing aids.
  • A portable alarm that can uses vibration or light effects to wake you.
  • Old (working) hearing aids you could pack as spares.

Keep these things in mind when boarding planes with a hearing aid

People travelling with hearing aids often worry about whether the technology used at airports will affect their devices. Here are the main things to remember:

  • You don’t have to remove your hearing aid when going through airport security and scanners. If the security alarm happens to go off, bear in mind that you may undergo a pat- down.
  • Scanners, metal detectors and X-Rays will not affect your hearing aids.
  • If you have your hearing aids in your carry-on luggage, the devices may be subject to additional screening.

Considerations when flying with hearing aids

It’s a good idea to let the airline you’re travelling with and the cabin staff in the plane know you have a hearing loss, and what sort of assistance you may require.

The rule about switching off electronic devices during take-off and landing doesn’t apply to those with hearing aids – all passengers need to be able to hear any announcements.

People with a hearing loss are not usually seated in the exit row seats for safety reasons (one being that passengers in those seats may be required to assume some level of responsibility in the case of an emergency; passengers with any disabilities or those with small children are not seated near emergency exits for the same reason). Notify the flight attendant should you find yourself in an exit row seat.

Caring for your hearing aids while you’re away

Moisture can affect the function of your hearing aids resulting in intermittent stopping and starting of the devices. So, if you are holidaying in a humid climate, packing a dehumidifier to make sure your hearing stays clear throughout your trip.

If you don’t have a dehumidifier and your hearing aids get wet, leave them to dry in a warm place indoors. Do not leave them in direct sunlight. Direct heat can damage the outer casing and sensitive inner workings of hearing aids. And, always ensure you store the batteries in a cool dry location.

Another thing to remember is that many insurance policies exclude hearing aids. Make sure to specify your condition in any travel insurance policy and check you are actually covered for any hearing devices you take with you. It’s a small precaution to prevent in case of loss, theft or even difficulty with the function of your devices while overseas.

If you’re making travel plans we hope this has put your mind at ease. If there’s anything else you need to know regarding travel with hearing aids, please contact your local NHC clinic.