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Top Travelling Tips for Those with Hearing Loss

Travelling can be as stressful as it is enjoyable and for one in six Australians with hearing loss, the concerns that come
with travelling overseas can be far greater.

Common problems include the inability to hear or understand boarding and in-flight announcements, difficulty making reservations and the frustration associated with using public transport or telephones in a foreign country.

Other travel obstacles include an inability to hear or understand scheduled events such as planned activities, tours, museum lectures, and live performances. This may mean you miss learning about the culture and history of the place you are visiting and a valuable part of your holiday.

Janette Thorburn, principal audiologist at Australian Hearing, said people shouldn’t let their hearing loss get in the way of an overseas holiday.

“Planning and preparation are essential to ensuring a hassle-free journey,” said Ms Thorburn. “Try to make all travel arrangements in advance and be sure to print copies of important information such as confirmation numbers, reservations and maps. Keep these copies easily available. Most countries overseas have hearing aid clinics, stocking the most commonly found brands in Australia. If you need urgent assistance with your hearing device, be sure to visit the closest hearing aid clinic.  Audiologists are university trained and most will be able to help you,” she said.

“It’s a good idea to find out about accessibility before your visit. Many attractions, museums, venues and transport networks offer hearing loops to enhance the experience of visitors with hearing loss, said Ms Thorburn.

Planning ahead and informing your fellow travellers, tour hosts and hotel staff that you have hearing loss will ensure your travels run smoothly. And lastly – enjoy yourself!

Top tips for travelling overseas

  • Thoroughly clean and re-tube your hearing aid before you depart
  • Take enough batteries for the duration of your trip
  • Check that any old hearing aids you may have at home are working and pack them as spares
  • Map out the region’s hearing aid clinics before you depart
  • Ensure you take out separate travel insurance, and specify your condition and any hearing devices you may have in case of loss, theft or difficulty with the devices while abroad
  • Contact the airline you are travelling with, as well as the place where you will be staying, to make them aware of your hearing loss and alert them to any help you may require
  •  Arrive early at the airport, bus terminal, or train station. Tell the agent at the boarding gate that you are hearing-impaired and need to be notified in person when it’s time to board
  • Do not be afraid to ask for help from fellow travellers—most are more than willing to offer assistance!

Travelling with cochlear implants

  •  If you are travelling with a cochlear implant you should take your identification card or letter from your audiologist to show customs and security officials
  • It’s normal to hear a buzz or hum when you walk through security. To avoid any potential buzzing sounds as you pass through, you may wish to turn off your telecoil
  • If you are carrying a loaner processor, ensure it’s off and put it safely in your carry-on luggage or bag. Do not place your sound processor directly on the conveyor belt as static electricity may build up that can corrupt the MAP
  • Your implant cannot interfere with the plane’s navigation or communication systems. Therefore, there is no need to turn your device off during take-off or landing. You do need to hear staff as they give you the safety briefing
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