6 Air Travel Tips for People with Hearing Loss
Traveling is usually meant to be a relaxing or an exciting experience. However, whether it is for a business or vacation purpose, traveling to and exploring your destination can be stressful. This is all the more true for those who suffer from hearing loss and are traveling by airplane.
Air travel can be difficult for those who have hearing problems. Airlines commonly make changes to flight times and boarding locations. Usually, last minute changes are announced over intercoms which means that a hearing-impaired person could miss them. However, individuals with hearing impairment can make their own trips smooth by following a few essential tips.
1. Note it in your reservation
When you book a flight online, there should be an option to list a disability. Those with hearing difficulties should notify the airline during the reservation process. Some airlines may take note of it in your boarding pass or reservation.
2. Arrive early to the airport
The general rule of air travel is to arrive two hours before your flight. However, those with hearing loss or deafness may want to arrive even earlier in order to allow for sufficient time to talk with staff. Arriving early leaves extra time to ensure that any special arrangements are made and to address any last-minute problems that arise.
3. Register for text notification alerts
Airlines usually offer a text message notification service. They can send important flight and travel alerts to your smartphone so that you can see them quickly. Individuals can sign up for alerts through the airline website or by downloading their mobile app.
4. If unsure, ask security officials if you can remove hearing aids
In most cases, individuals can keep hearing aids and cochlear implants on while going through airport security. Security scanners do not interfere with the performance of the device, but they may detect the metal parts inside the device. If hearing aids are picked up by the scanners, simply let the security officers know that you have a hearing impairment and are wearing an assistive device. You can also notify them beforehand by giving them the TSA disability notification card.
5. Notify flight attendants and other staff members
Upon arrival at the airport, speak with the flight attendant or other transport operators to let them know that you are hearing impaired. This way, they can make sure you do not miss any important announcements. For those who have difficulty speaking due to profound hearing loss or deafness, take your disability notification card with you so you can easily give it to the staff members when necessary.
6. Keep hearing assistive devices on during the flight
Although cochlear implants, hearing aids and other assistive technologies are electronic devices, they do not need to be powered off during flights. These devices do not interfere with the plane’s navigation, so you can use them freely throughout your flight.
Some individuals suffering from hearing loss or deafness may avoid air travel because they worry about missing announcements or being unable to communicate with flight attendants. However, with the right preparation, trips can be less stressful and more comfortable. By planning ahead, notifying flight attendants about your hearing difficulty, and utilizing hearing assistive devices, individuals can have smooth travel experiences.
If you still have questions, contact your audiologist and discuss any concerns you may have regarding air travel. It’s important to feel comfortable and confident when flying, so a little extra reassurance from your audiologist won’t hurt!