7 Tips for Flying with Hearing Loss
With the 4th of July just around the corner, air travel can be stressful for anyone. Flying with hearing loss can be an even bigger burden but it doesn’t have to be! Here are 7 tips to make you fly as proudly as the flag this Independence Day.
Booking air travel:
1. Sign up for text and email alerts on your phone.
If your flight is delayed or the gate changes, as often happens during peak travel times, it is going to be difficult for you to hear over the loudspeakers. Be prepared with these alerts and download your airline’s app on your smartphone so you can check the status of your flight as often as you would like.
2. Book an aisle seat toward the front of the plane.
This seat will allow you to see and hear your stewardess better in flight. Keep in mind that most people have difficulty hearing in flight so if you still miss something important that is said, do not hesitate to ask your neighbor.
Before you go:
3. Pack extra batteries or your charger.
If you are wearing hearing aids or cochlear implants, you don’t want to run out of juice! Make sure you have enough batteries to get through your vacation. In addition, take your hard storage case and your device cleaning supplies. You are going to be in a new routine in a new place and do not want to lose your devices or not have tools ready to fix them if something goes awry. Lastly if you have a backup set of hearing devices consider bringing them with you.
4. Put your audiologist's phone number or email address in your phone.
Again you are in a new place with a new routine. Often issues with your devices can be resolved over the phone but only if you are prepared with your cleaning supplies and a number to contact your audiologist for assistance.
Arriving at the airport:
5. Leave your hearing devices on when you go through security.
You do not need to remove body worn devices such as hearing aids or cochlear implants when you go through security scanners. You will want to stay alert and hearing your best in the hustle and bustle of this environment.
6. Get in the loop.
Check to see if the airports you are traveling through are equipped with a hearing loop by checking their website or calling their customer service. This loop sends announcements directly to your hearing devices. Schedule an appointment with your audiologist before you go to learn how to access the telecoil in your hearing device to take advantage of the hearing loop. If the airports do not have a hearing loop, try to find a seat near the counter at your gate so that you can quickly see changes in flight status since you likely won't be able to hear the announcements easily.
7. Stream music and video from your phone to your hearing devices.
If your hearing aids or cochlear implants stream music and video via bluetooth on your phone, turn your phone to airplane mode when instructed by the crew. For some phones, airplane mode will turn off your bluetooth. Go into your phone settings and turn your bluetooth back on. This will allow you to enjoy your phone to hearing device streaming throughout the flight and will drown out much of the background noise. Don’t forget to turn closed caption on for movies! If you do not have bluetooth enabled through your hearing aids, you can remove your hearing aids if the plane is noisy (baby crying, etc.) but just be sure to keep them in your hard case in a safe and secure pocket of your bag or suitcase.
While I hope every trip is full of adventure, these 7 tips should ensure your flight is not an unexpected adventure for your ears. Remember airports and airlines are difficult listening environment for everyone so do not hesitate to ask for clarification when you miss something. Your fellow passengers will probably thank you.