How to Travel When You Have Hearing Loss - Attune
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How to Travel When You Have Hearing Loss

traval

Although many of us haven’t walked through an airport for nearly two years, with state borders now open and international travel expected to follow, we can look forward to checking into our flights very soon. Besides the fact most of us haven’t travelled for a while, being apprehensive about flying is completely normal, irrespective of whether you have hearing loss or not. 

However, if you do experience hearing loss, travelling can be daunting, with worries about misunderstanding your flight announcements or even during customs. As hearing experts, the team at Attune understands these worries and have put together a guide on how to navigate travel successfully. If you’re planning a flight soon, refreshing yourself on how to travel with hearing loss will help you feel prepared and confident, so you can worry less and focus on enjoying the journey. 

Preparing for The Trip

The first step in preparing for your flight is to pack. Packing light and ensuring you are within the weight restrictions will keep your mind at ease, so you don’t have to worry about transferring luggage between your carry on and suitcase. Everything you’ll need within hands reach must be stored in carry on for accessibility. Some belongings you may wish to have in your carry on or suitcase could include: 

  • Hearing aids replacement batteries 
  • Charging station and charger cable for rechargeable devices
  • The proper converters for your rechargeable hearing aids if travelling overseas
  • Cleaning tools and replacement accessories
  • Hearing aid storage box or a portable case

To not leave anything behind, we always recommend writing up a cheat-sheet to keep on hand, so you can check off what you’ve packed. It’s sometimes hard to remember what you’ve packed by the end, so keeping this sheet will also act as a reminder, so you don’t have to worry or question “did I pack that?”. 

When at The Airport

During your time at the airport, you may want or need to talk to flight attendants, cafe staff or check-in officers. No matter your range of hearing loss, if you find it difficult to communicate in noisy environments, letting your conversation partner know you have a hearing condition is the best solution to ensure a smooth conversation. 

Travelling with hearing aids: Will they set off metal detectors?

This is an incredibly common concern for hearing aid users, but it’s reassuring to know that your hearing aid is safe to wear while going through airport metal detectors. They’re also safe in x-ray machines, so if you ever store an additional hearing aid in your carry on or suitcase, rest assured they’ll be safe. 

Travelling with hearing aids

On The Plane

When you fly, be sure to keep your hearing aids with you, either in your ears or carry on luggage. We always suggest avoiding travelling with your hearing aid stored in your checked in luggage, in the chance your suitcase goes missing. But when you keep your hearing aids in your ears, you know where they are and that they’re safe. 

Travel insurance comes in handy in the off chance this happens, but it doesn’t repair the disappointment of losing your aid at the beginning of your trip. If you haven’t arranged travel insurance, it’s the peace of mind plan we recommend to all who travel. When taking out travel insurance, make sure to specify your hearing condition is covered in your travel insurance policy and check that you’re covered for the loss, damage and theft of your hearing aids. It’s always best to be safe rather than sorry. 

You will also be happy to know that hearing aid batteries are also safe to travel with, both disposable and rechargeable. Just remember to have the batteries and charging units accessible, so you can place them in the x-ray trays when it’s time for your carry on bag to be scanned. If you’re on a long-haul flight, we suggest carrying the extra batteries on you in your carry on. You never know when your hearing aid might run out due to the cabin pressure changing the usual lifespan of batteries. 

Use noise-cancelling headphones on the plane

Airplanes are noisy, so travelling with noise-cancelling headphones can allow passengers to comfortably sleep. Depending on your preferences, you may benefit from either using a hearing device or noise-cancelling headphones.

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Source: Mayo Foundation

Your Ears Under Pressure

When your ears feel blocked on airplanes, this is due to the cabin pressure quickly changing during take-off and descent. Behind the middle section of your ear and your eardrum, there is a section filled with air, which allows the eardrum to vibrate and produce sound. 

Connecting to the middle ear is the Eustachian tube, which allows for airflow, equalising the pressure in the ear. When the cabin pressure changes quickly, the Eustachian tube is sometimes not able to open quickly enough, resulting in a feeling of blockage and even causing hearing loss symptoms. If this happens during your flight, don’t panic as there are tips to equalise your ear pressure. 

Tips to equalise your ears 

  • Chewing gum, lollies or even yawning can unblock the ears and reduce hearing loss symptoms.
  • Pop your ears: Hold your nose and blow gently. Hearing loss symptoms can be alleviated as air moves through the eustachian tube and equalises the ear pressure. 
  • Spray your nose! The sinus is connected to the eustachian tube, keeping the ear moist and allowing the ear to equalise. 
  • Get fitted earplugs. If the top three tips don’t help to relieve the hearing loss symptoms, you can try using filtered earplugs to help control the changes in cabin pressure.

in airport

How Attune Can Prepare You for Your Next Flight 

At Attune, we care about the comfort of our clients, and want to support you during the preparation of your next flight with hearing loss. To find the ideal hearing aid for you, reach out to Attune today and book your audiology test. Our team of trained audiologists conduct Audiometric Tests and Full Diagnostic Audiology Assessments in compliance with Australian standards. 

Enquire now