Traveling is one of the joys of life, seeing and hearing new sights and sounds around the world. Being able to sense these differences is part of what makes travel so enjoyable. If you live in a city, you will be thrilled to hear the soundscape of the forest, desert, or ocean when you travel there. On the contrary, if you are a country dweller, the sound of the city can be thrilling, giving you a sense of the culture of the place you visit. To get the most out of your travels, you will likely want to travel with your hearing aids, bringing to life the rich sonic environment you encounter. Although wearing your hearing aids while traveling can be much like wearing them at home, there are a few tips to help you get the most out of your hearing aids while you’re in a new part of the world.
Hearing Loss Accommodations
Although hearing aids can be remarkably helpful to enable you to connect and communicate with others while traveling, a few tips are good to keep in mind for anyone with hearing loss. Preparation is key, and you might want to look ahead to some of the places you will be visiting and staying. Many tourist attractions and public institutions such as museums provide audio guides to help you get the most out of your visit.
These audio guides often come with headphones that can be cumbersome to use with hearing aids in place. Call ahead to see what the visitor relations specialist would recommend for you. In some cases, the headphones might be compatible with hearing aids. In other cases, you can download an audio guide to your smartphone or other device and then stream that audio to your hearing aids through Bluetooth connectivity. If you are going to a particular restaurant, you might want to mention to the host that you have hearing loss. In some cases, one table will be better suited to your hearing needs than others, and your reservation can reflect that preference.
Hotels may have rooms designated for those with hearing loss. For instance, these can be equipped with flashing lights on the smoke detectors and even on the telephone for your wake-up call. Mentioning that you are traveling with hearing loss might be all that is necessary to find the right accommodations.
Hearing Aids While You’re Away
Your hearing aids will function the same away from home as they do in your hometown, but there are a few important considerations to keep in mind. First, make sure that you have the power you need. If your hearing aids have replaceable batteries, be sure to bring enough backups to last your entire trip, plus a few extras in the event that you have a change of plans. If you use rechargeable batteries, make a plan to keep them powered on the go. Some hearing aids come with travel battery packs that can provide an extra charge while you’re away from an electrical outlet. You can sometimes find a power inverter for your car that makes it possible to charge while driving, and one of these devices is a good backup plan. If you’re traveling to another country, make sure not only that you have the right outlet adaptors but also that the voltage on your charger is suited to differences in voltage around the world.
COVID-19 and Hearing Aids
Many hotels, restaurants, and public institutions may have restrictions in place related to COVID-19, and be sure to make yourself aware of these restrictions before travel. As they relate to hearing loss, some parts of the world still have face mask requirements in place. You might find it difficult to communicate with the muffled effect of face masks and the inability to see mouth movements.
If you find it hard to communicate, it is important to advocate for yourself so that you get complete information. You can ask a person to write something down or to step aside to a quieter place. You might even ask if it is possible to talk outdoors where face masks are not necessary. In any event, make sure to speak up for your needs rather than acting as if hearing loss is not an issue. Advocating for yourself will make your travels smooth and easy, and others will surely be willing to help as much as they can.