Top tips for travelling with hearing difficulties
Planning a trip can be stressful — especially for the one in three Australians over 55 with hearing difficulties. But hearing loss is no reason to avoid travel; by planning ahead and managing the problem early, you can set yourself up for a safe, worry-free, enjoyable trip.
How could untreated hearing loss impact you on holiday?
- Making reservations over the phone could turn into a frustrating task
- You could miss airline boarding and in-flight announcements
- You might not hear hotel room-service knocking on your door
- You could find it hard to follow dialogue during guided tours or live performances
- Understanding foreign accents could be even harder
- It could prove impossible to hold a conversation in cafes or restaurants.
Coupled with some clever listening techniques, a reliable and adjustable hearing aid is one of the best ways to manage a hearing difficulty on holiday. Hearing aids take the hassle out of planning and ensure smooth sailing throughout your trip. Just ask Australian sailor Angus Lockheart.
Angus has sailed thousands of nautical miles in and outside Australian waters. He’s been living on a yacht with his wife for more than five years. “A yacht’s living space is much smaller than a house, and a couple spend more time together,” said Angus.
But as his hearing loss increased, so too did his wife’s frustration at having to constantly repeat herself. With his living quarters tightening in on him, Angus finally ordered a pair of Blamey Saunders hearing aids online. They were posted to a port for him to collect, perfectly programmed using his results from Blamey Saunders hears’ online hearing test.
“The difference is amazing!” Angus said. (And Mrs. Lockheart is pretty happy too.)
When flying to your dream destination, you can wear hearing aids through airport security screenings and on your flight without any damage to your devices or discomfort to you. But people with impaired hearing can’t sit in exit row seats for safety reasons, so double check the seat on your ticket and notify your flight attendant.
Back on land, outback traveller David Lloyd has visited some of Australia’s most remote deserts with hearing aids but says not all aids are created equal. “The first problem that I faced was feedback when flies flew past, but I was able to stop that happening,” said David, who recently switched to a hearing aid that can be adjusted to suit any environment using a program on his smartphone.
Travellers should look for a hearing aid that has self-adjustment capabilities, such as Blamey Saunders aids, which allows you to adjust your settings on the go — using an app on your smartphone or Windows computer.
For additional support, Blamey Saunders hearing aid users can contact the company’s telehealth team by phone or email. The team can even adjust a person’s hearing aid settings for them remotely, making things easier for people in remote areas.
Managing your hearing difficulties while travelling:
- Print itineraries, maps, reservation numbers, and tickets in advance
- You can usually rely on the terminal display for boarding information but it’s a good idea to ask a staff member to notify you when it’s time to board
- Inform your flight attendant of your hearing loss and ask that any in-flight announcements are repeated to you in person
- If background noise is an issue, you can try strategies; such as choosing to sit in the least noisy part of a restaurant, or adjusting your hearing aid to a directional setting
Looking after your hearing aids while travelling:
- Always remove your hearing aids when you swim. Most are water resistant but are not designed to withstand full immersion
- Keep your hearing aids in a drying jar whenever you’re not using them, especially when holidaying in a hot climate, as sweat can damage a hearing aid’s delicate circuitry
- If you take out travel insurance, make sure it covers your hearing aids
- Make sure you have enough batteries to last your trip, and store them in a safe place, away from sun and moisture and out of reach of pets and children
Has your hearing ever affected your travel plans? Let us know in the comments.
Written by Mahsa Fratantoni. Republished with permission of Wyza.com.au.