Reno may be “the biggest little city,” but sometimes you’ll want to get away—especially around the holidays, if you’re visiting family or friends that don’t live close by. If you are one of the approximately 20 percent of people with hearing loss in Nevada and wear hearing aids, we’ve got some tips to make your travel experience less stressful.
Travel Tips for the Hearing-Impaired
Traveling can be stressful for anybody; factor in hearing loss and the busiest time of the year, and it’s enough to make you vow to skip the vacation in favor of a staycation. But where’s the fun in that? There’s nothing like an out-of-town getaway to expand your horizons…literally. If you are traveling with hearing loss, your Reno audiologist would like to share the following tips to make your experience more pleasant.
- Pack plenty of batteries. There is nothing more frustrating than having your hearing aid batteries die on you unexpectedly. Most batteries last between 5-14 days, so plan accordingly by packing enough to last the duration of your trip. In fact, bring more than you think you’ll need; when you’re in an unfamiliar city, you might not know where to find batteries you need. This is especially true if you’re visiting a foreign country. Even if you have rechargeable hearing aids, bring batteries as a backup just in case. Don’t forget your charger and any necessary power adapters!
- Get to your departure point early. Let’s face it, airports can be stressful. Train depots, bus stations and cruise docks aren’t much better! Allow yourself plenty of time to deal with crowds, security checkpoints, etc. by getting to your departure point early. This will also let you make special arrangements with ticket agents if necessary and ensure you won’t miss boarding calls or special announcements. People with hearing loss are often allowed to board early or choose a seat before others.
- Keep your hearing aids in your ears. There is no need to worry about x-ray screening equipment damaging your hearing aids; they will be just fine if left in your ears. It’s a good idea to let your TSA agent or other security personnel know you are wearing them before passing through metal detectors, etc., just in case you find yourself a candidate for an unexpected pat-down.
- Pack hearing aids in carry-on luggage. This might seem contrary to the above advice, but if you do choose to pack your hearing aids instead of wear them during your airline flight, keep them in your carry-on bag. Suitcases have an inconvenient way of ending up misrouted, and it often takes days for them to show up. The last thing you want is to spend your vacation unable to fully enjoy the experience because you can’t hear.
- Be prepared for inclement weather. Reno’s desert-like climate is generally dry and mild, so you may not be used to moisture, humidity and temperature extremes, all of which can affect the performance of your hearing aids. Research the weather of your destination before setting out and be prepared with a waterproof case, dehumidifier and any other accessories to help keep them safe from the elements.
- Book hearing-friendly lodging. If you’re staying in a motel or resort rather than your aunt’s house in Poughkeepsie, look for lodging options that offer amenities for hearing-impaired guests, such as closed-caption televisions, visual alerting devices and looping systems. Request a room on the ground floor to give yourself plenty of time to reach safety in the event of an emergency and familiarize yourself with emergency exits and escape routes upon checking in. Be sure to let hotel staff know about your hearing impairment in case they need to let you know about important announcements in person rather than relying on a telephone call.
- Print copies of all important documents. We all rely on our smartphones for pretty much everything nowadays, but if you lose your phone during your trip or the battery dies unexpectedly, you might have trouble communicating with desk clerks, wait staff and others—especially if you’re traveling to a foreign country, where language difficulties may add to your woes. Print copies of documents such as reservations and travel itineraries that you can easily show somebody…and bring along paper maps, just in case!
If you’d like more tips on traveling with hearing loss, give your Reno audiologist a call before setting out.