Tips for Traveling with Hearing Loss


A family with hard of hearing members gathers for a holiday meal

Holidays are an important time of the year — that’s when we spend more time with our friends and family. If you’re living with hearing loss or impairment, navigating life can feel challenging. After all, you’re dealing with socializing, recreation, and travel. How can you handle these situations and remain as engaged and happy as possible? Keep reading for some useful advice for the holiday season, plus some hearing aid travel tips that can make your journeys easier.

This article is also good for people with hearing loss to share with friends and family who are planning holiday events or family gatherings. At Oliveira Audiology & Hearing Center, we want to help guests with hearing loss enjoy holiday events!

Socialize With Less Effort This Holiday Season

Hearing isn’t just about receiving sound through your ear. Your eardrum, inner ear, nerves, and brain all work together to translate those waves into meaningful information. Depending on the kind of impairment you’re dealing with, you may have difficulty hearing speech in certain settings — rooms with lots of background noise, for instance.

Music, other conversations in the room, and ambient noise can all interfere with your ability to understand others’ speech. Fortunately, you do have a remedy. It’s okay to ask your host to reduce the volume of holiday background music and television at holiday parties. If you rely on lipreading, you can also ask this person to ensure there’s enough light in the room. Improved lighting helps you see lip movements, but it can also enable you to make out facial expressions better.

Stay Connected During the Holidays

The holidays involve shopping, attending parties, and enjoying yourself at other events. With some hearing aids holiday tips, you can get the most out of your time spent. Before you leave home, make sure your hearing aids have fresh batteries to keep them powered up. This is also wise when you’re on the road, especially on flights or long drives.

The holidays can be super busy, so it’s easy to lose track of things. It may be helpful to set a reminder in your smartphone, planner, or calendar to clean your hearing aids. You’ll want to follow the cleaning instructions given to you by your provider, but many people do well with antibacterial wet wipes. A mild soap solution on cotton cloth is also effective—just wring out the cloth thoroughly to ensure you don’t accidentally get excess water in your hearing aid.

Finally, you’ll want to check and ensure your hearing aids are working in good condition. Contact your hearing aid specialist if you notice any problems:

  • Reduced sound volume
  • No sound from hearing aids
  • Unusual or distorted sounds
  • Whistling or feedback

Share and Hear Your Loved Ones During Holiday Traditions

The holidays offer opportunities for valuable connections with friends and family — especially grandchildren. That time spent with them is the stuff of memories. And even with hearing impairments, you can still share quality time with them. Don’t be hesitant to tell them about your hearing challenges.

Meanwhile, you can advocate for yourself so you more easily hear younger family members. Ask them to turn volumes down on TVs and stereos or turn them off completely if those devices aren’t needed. If they know to get your attention first, starting interactions will be easier. With these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy meaningful moments: making holiday sweets together, decorating, building snow people, or whatever else lights up the season.

Regular Hearing Checks: Your New Year’s Resolution

Need any ideas for your upcoming New Year’s resolutions? Schedule a hearing check. Periodic hearing evaluations don’t take much time and are conducted in comfortable settings. Without these checkups, you could continue with untreated hearing loss — which affects how well you hear and comprehend speech. Regular hearing checkups and assistive technologies allow you to stay connected, positively impacting your mental health and cognitive abilities as you get older.

Traveling for the Holidays?

Traveling can be challenging on its own. Mix in hearing impairments and you add more levels of difficulty. But you don’t have to give up your travels if you’re impacted by hearing loss. Air travel has its unique components. But knowing how to deal with them can alleviate headaches and make your experience go more smoothly.

When booking your flight, ask about services available for passengers with hearing impairments. If you need a sign language interpreter, you should let your transportation provider know at least two weeks in advance — preferably sooner, if possible. You should also check to see if induction loop systems are available, as these can enable you to hear staff announcements better. You can switch your aids to their telecoil setting to access the system.

Before you leave for your trip, you’ll want to keep other smart practices in mind. You can pack your travel documents in an easily reachable place. Signing up for text message travel alerts is also a good idea. It may be easier to look at your phone as opposed to straining to hear updates over a loudspeaker or PA system.

Dealing with Hearing Loss at the Airport

People with hearing impairments can encounter additional challenges at the airport. Thankfully, you can meet them with some useful tips. You aren’t required to take out hearing aids before going through security, but keep in mind you may be asked to go through additional screening. Letting TSA staff know that you’re wearing hearing aids can help the process go a bit more smoothly. Avoid placing hearing aids on the conveyer belt or inside the plastic bins, as there may be static electricity that can cause damage.

You can also manage well on the plane itself with a few additional pointers. Even though passengers will be asked to switch their devices off, this does not apply to your hearing aids. However, you may encounter some other snags — no subtitles or captioning for on-board entertainment or announcements that are difficult to hear. Consider informing flight attendants of your hearing impairment, especially if you require assistance. Bringing your own entertainment, like books or downloaded movies, also staves off boredom.

Know Your Rights

While practical strategies help you navigate holiday traveling, you should also be aware of your legal rights. The Americans With Disabilities Act applies to people with hearing impairments, but there’s also the 1986 Air Carrier Access Act. Take note of some key provisions in this law:

  • The ACAA requires that information and reservation services be accessible.
  • Providers must make information at airports accessible once you’ve made them aware of your hearing impairments.
  • Airport televisions must have captioning activated.
  • Providers on commercial aircraft must effectively communicate with you after you’ve informed them of your hearing loss.
  • Providers must permit service animals.

These laws also protect other rights. For instance, you have the right to request special services for people with disabilities. You also have the right to ask for disability seating. And if you’re not presented with these options during the booking process, don’t hesitate to contact the airlines’ or booking provider’s customer service.

Hearing Experts & Audiology in Laredo, TX

Holiday activities and socializing go hand-in-hand. Shopping, travel, and recreation are also vital parts of the holiday season. Regular hearing checks, hearing aid care, utilizing hearing devices, and self-advocacy are all key to enjoying the season. At Oliveira Audiology & Hearing Center, we provide world-class hearing healthcare: hearing evaluations, rehabilitative hearing services, hearing assistive technologies, repair services, and much more. Contact us through our online form or call (956) 727-3801.

Image Source: Yuganov Konstantin / Shutterstock

Masks encouraged for patients.