It’s that time of year again. Turkey, presents, and time with family: it’s the holidays. Along with the good comes luggage, jet lag, and airport security for many during this busy season. Traveling by air can be very stressful, and one thing that can make it even more so is hearing loss. The following are a few tips to make sure that hearing loss and traveling with hearing aids doesn’t add to your holiday stress.
- Keep your hearing aids in your ears and out of your carry-on while checking in and going through security. It is not necessary to remove your hearing aids while going through security checkpoints. Actually, it’s preferred by TSA if you don’t as wearing your hearing aids makes communication easier. Hearing aids are not affected by x-ray or walk-through metal detectors. If you are still concerned, however, you can request a physical pat down and individual visual inspection.
- When you check in, let personnel know that you have hearing loss; they can add that information to your travel profile.
- To prevent loss, don’t put hearing aids in checked baggage.
- Bring extra batteries, and tubing (if used). Store these in your carry-on luggage where they are more easily accessible during travel.
- If you are traveling to a warmer or more humid destination, it is strongly recommended that you utilize a dehumidifier or desiccant jar. This will ensure that excess moisture stays out of your hearing aids. It is also a safe and dry place to store your aids while swimming or doing other water activities during your stay in this warmer climate.
- If traveling alone, inform boarding personnel that you have a hearing loss. This will ensure that you don’t miss critical announcements or boarding calls.
- Hearing aids do not interfere with the airplane’s onboard computer, so it is not necessary to switch off your devices while in flight. However, airplane noise, especially if seated in the rear of the craft, can be quite loud. You may want to decrease volume, or turn off hearing aids in this situation.
- Hearing aids, in most situations, will not interfere with your ear’s pressure equalization, so they do not need to be removed during take-off and landing.
- Do not be afraid to inform your seat partner or the flight attendant that you have a hearing loss. They can ensure that you don’t miss critical announcements or safety instructions.
- Check for all of your equipment before exiting the aircraft.
If you have any further questions about flight with hearing aids please contact TSA Cares. This is a hotline set up for those with disabilities or medical conditions. Travelers may call 1-855-787-2227 to access this hotline; it is recommended that you call at least 72 hours ahead of travel, so there is ample time to get necessary information or change travel arrangements. Please visit http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/travelers-disabilities-and-medical-conditions for more about TSA Cares, and have a great flight. Happy Holidays!
Sarah Nordberg, AuD is an audiologist at Affinity Hearing in Plymouth. She may be reached at 763-744-1190 for any questions. Affinity Hearing provides free hearing screenings and hearing protection consults to the general public.