Whether for business, to visit family, the holidays, or a much-deserved vacation, air travel is a normal activity for most Americans. Air travel is stressful at best, but it can be an even greater challenge for those with hearing aids. To make traveling easier for our Beltone Hearing clients, we have put together some top tips for traveling with hearing aids.
When you pack for a trip, you do your best to take along everything you will need en route as well as after you arrive at your destination. A critical element in traveling with hearing aids is ensuring that you will have everything you need to keep your hearing aids functioning as designed while you are away from home. Your checklist of items should include:
- Extra Batteries (1 or 2 in carryon luggage)
- Charger and Cables
- Converter (foreign countries use different types of outlets)
- Accessories (mics, Bluetooth connectivity accessories, portable cases, etc.)
- Dehumidifier (whether traveling to warmer or cooler climate)
- Cleaning Kit (daily cleaning still essential while traveling)
- Hearing Protection (noise-canceling headphones ease travel stress)
In addition to including these items in your checked or carryon luggage, other pre-flight preparations will help make traveling with hearing aids easier. First of all, try to book a seat toward the front of the cabin to stay away from engine noise. Consider installing or arranging for some form of text-service to alert you of flight status, gate changes, and other information. This is helpful because hearing flight-related alerts over airport sound systems can be difficult.
Airport and Flight
The biggest challenge for those flying with hearing aids has to do with sorting through background noise to hear important instructions from TSA agents, gate attendants, flight attendants, airline pilots, baggage claim, and customs officials. Lowering the volume on your hearing aids is a good idea when going through metal detectors and helps limit irritating noise levels throughout the process. While on the plane, some additional tips to keep in mind include:
- Stay awake during ascents and descents (better able to deal with pressure changes)
- Inform flight attendant of your hearing aids
- Make use of noise reduction features (if available)
- Chew gum (to help with pressure changes)
- Avoid removing your hearing aids (hearing instructions during a flight is essential)
Take advantage of some of the features available from Beltone Apps. These apps, which link with your cell phone, provide a variety of noise reduction, fine-tuning, and adjustment as well as streaming features that will help to take some of the stress out of traveling with hearing aids.
Once you arrive at your destination, most of the stress should be behind you, but there can be some lingering effects produced from various circumstances related to your flight. Pulsatile tinnitus is a temporary form of tinnitus, which sometimes lingers for several hours after flying. Short-term hearing loss or hearing reduction is also common, causing many hearing aid users to think that their hearing aids are not functioning correctly. This condition should even decrease within a few hours after you arrive at your destination. If your trip takes you to a location with a swimming pool or the beach, take extra precautions to avoid getting your hearing aids wet and be sure to remove all water from the ear canal before inserting hearing aids.
Airline travel is stressful for everyone, but there are numerous situations and circumstances throughout the process, which make it particularly difficult for hearing aid users. You can ease some of that stress by following the travel preparation, airport, in-flight, and destination tips we have provided. Contact us for more information about traveling with hearing aids or take advantage of specialized apps that help with air travel.