With peak summer holiday times fast approaching, some of us may be lucky enough to be travelling abroad over the next few months. For those with hearing impairments, this can require a number of considerations and pre-flight precautions. Sophy Magee, an audiologist at Boots Hearingcare has offered her top tips for travelling abroad whilst wearing a hearing aid.
Things to consider before travel
Check your insurance
Sophy suggests: “Prior to your trip, ensure that your hearing aids are adequately covered by your travel insurance policy. Keep a copy of your hearing aid prescription, warranty information, and any other relevant documents with you. This documentation can be useful if you require repairs or replacements while you’re abroad and potentially save you hundreds of pounds.”
Pack important things in your hand luggage
Sophy says: “Take any necessary equipment that you may need with you. Depending on the type of hearing aid you have, this might include packing any extra batteries or a charger and bringing the right cleaning supplies for your hearing aids. That way, if you’re unfortunate enough to have your luggage lost in transit you won’t be without the essentials.
“If you travel often, it’s worth considering a rechargeable hearing aid for ease, such as the Phonak Lumity. This has much longer usage so you don’t need to pack batteries.”
Things to consider in the airport
Make use of accessibility features
Sophy suggests: “Most airports you visit will have hearing loops and accessibility programmes in place to cater for people with hearing impairments, so you shouldn’t miss any important announcements. If you have any issues with these or are in need of more support, speak to airport staff.”
Be prepared at security
“Typically, hearing aids should not set off the metal detectors,” Sophy comments. “But if you do get stopped, it is wise to notify the personnel in case they need to take extra precautions or use alternative screening methods.”
Things to consider when flying
You don’t need to make any adjustments to your device
“Planes can be incredibly loud, so you may choose to turn down your hearing aid during the flight,” Sophy says. “You don’t need to turn off your hearing aids or their wireless features on a plane. The FAA [Federal Aviation Administration in the US] exempts devices like hearing aids and pacemakers because they don’t emit signals that might interfere with aircraft controls.”
Things to consider once you’re abroad
Make use of maps
Sophy suggests: “It can be quite intimidating travelling to another country and not knowing the language, which can be heightened even further if you’re a lip reader. Using maps on your phone should make it easier to find your way around rather than needing to ask for directions.”
Check your device before going swimming
Sophy says: “While hearing aids are usually water resistant, not all models will be fully waterproof. Check the advice for your particular hearing aid before going in the sea, pool, or sauna.”
For more information on hearing aids, visit the Boots Hearingcare website.