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Traveling can be stressful in and of itself, but traveling with hearing loss adds further challenges. Airport announcements are generally made over a loudspeaker, and even slight hearing loss can impact your ability to hear that gate change. The good news is there are steps that you can take as a passenger and even laws that mitigate any potential frustrations while traveling. Don’t miss out on discovering new cities countries. Follow these tips on how to navigate airports before your flight takes you on that rewarding adventure!
ADA Hearing Loss Laws
If you feel the barriers of traveling are too high for you as a person with hearing loss, know that the American with Disabilities Act has legal provisions that underline the difficulty of hearing in airports. Under these provisions, airports must provide auxiliary hearing aids such as telephone services and videotext displays.
To ensure that no one will miss vital announcements, terminals are also required to broadcast announcements through visual systems. Legally speaking, airports are required to offer accessible communication to the deaf and hard of hearing, only if airport personnel are notified by the traveler.
Knowing that there are laws in place that assist travelers with hearing loss is a comforting first step, but the following traveling tips for will further ease the transition of traveling from one destination to another.
Traveling by Air Tips for Those with Hearing Loss
Planning ahead is an important first step. If you’re going to bring along a hearing device that requires aircraft power, certain airlines will require you to inform them when you book your ticket so they can be sure it’s compliant with their safety measures.
Once you arrive at the airport, using the self-check-in kiosk eliminates the possibility of any communication struggles that you may encounter with airline staff in getting your ticket. Certain airport terminals have special sound system for people with hearing aids that improve quality of sound in public places while reducing background noise. These systems are called audio induction loops that provide wireless signal that is picked up on hearing aids when set to the telecoil setting. Be sure to inquire with airport personnel about this option.
Once you arrive at security, know that you are not required to remove any hearing aids or cochlear implants. You may be given a pat-down by TSA staff if your devices or implants set off the metal detector. Another tip is to never put your hearing instruments through the x-ray scanner belts as they can damage the microphones. Communicate to TSA personnel that you have a hearing instrument prior to going through.
As many of us today use smartphones, using technology for travel logistics is extremely helpful for those with hearing loss. With the possibility of missing an announcement, it is important to download all the relevant applications on your smartphone that notifies you of any flight changes, delays, or cancellations. Be sure to check the flight information screens located in all terminals regularly, too.
Once you’ve reached your gate and are about to enter the plane, it is important to communicate persistently about your needs while traveling. Inform the airline personnel at the gate that you are hard of hearing and do not want to miss any important announcements. Sitting close to the gate will allow for them to notify you personally. Once on the plane, inform your flight attendant or seatmate about your hearing loss and ask them to notify you of any important messages that may be announced during the flight.
All of this leads to you being your own advocate! By informing the airline about your hearing loss will allow for you take advantage of any assistive devices the airport might offer. If you’re traveling alone, being communicative is especially important. Communicate your challenges and needs with airport security, gate staff, airline personnel, and those you’re sitting around and next to on the flight. Just in case there is some sort of emergency, they will be able to assist you!
Visit Us at Exceptional Hearing Care
Traveling with hearing loss does not have to be frustrating or overbearing, you may just need to take a few extra steps and you’ll be smooth sailing. Follow these steps and be on your way to a great vacation! If you need hearing aid repair or maintenance before your trip, contact us at Exceptional Hearing Care. We provide comprehensive hearing services to ensure that you are hearing at your best.