For individuals with hearing loss, traveling by plane can be a particularly stressful experience. As the summer months approach and we begin to make travel plans to see friends and family, keep the following tips in mind for a stress-free and enjoyable traveling experience.
-Sign up for e-mails from your airline in order to receive written communication regarding any travel changes leading up to your flight.
– Arrive to the airport early so you have plenty of time to communicate with the agents at the check-in desk. Let them know you have difficulty hearing and request that they speak slowly and, if possible, maintain eye contact for the added benefit of lip reading. Or better yet, check-in online.
– When going through security you are allowed to keep your hearing aids, cochlear implant or BAHA processor on. Notify the TSA agent if you have an implantable hearing device such as a cochlear implant or a BAHA. You will likely be scanned with the security “wand” rather than go through the full body scanner. This will not cause any problems with your implant.
– Once through security make sure to find a TV monitor to visually confirm your gate number and boarding time. Wait at your gate within view of the boarding door so you don’t miss your boarding time. Often there will be a monitor to display the boarding group as they are called.
– You can safely use your hearing aids, cochlear implant or BAHA on an airplane. Notify the flight attendant that you have difficulty hearing and where your seat is located in case they need to provide important safety information during the flight.
– Be sure to pack extra disposable batteries if applicable or if your device is rechargeable be sure to pack your charger in your carry-on in the event your battery unexpectedly dies.
Overall, use visual and written confirmation of information when available and don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself. Happy travels!