Traveling with with a child with hearing loss can be a daunting experience, but it doesn’t need to be!
We know there are many things to remember and pack for when traveling with children, without thinking about the extra equipment needed for children hearing loss.
Before you leave, make sure that you have extra batteries for their hearing assistive equipment (cochlear implants, hearing aids, baha). Its always important to have extra equipment for their devices in case they break.
We asked Anna Tess, the new FHSR Education Coordinator who herself has hearing loss, about traveling and she said:
As a kid, I went to Disney World and my cochlear implant broke while I was there. We did not have backup devices at the time and it took 3 days before I got a new device shipped to where we were staying in Florida. In the meantime, I couldn’t hear and had to depend on signing and lipreading. Luckily, Disney World was a great place for this to happen since some of the characters knew some sign language and it has become one of my favorite memories.
When preparing for any trip, here are some tips to remember.
- Pack extra batteries, equipment and devices such as waterproof protectors, mini mics, etc.
- Pack the chargers for any equipment that you have.
- Put these extra materials in a separate bag so they are all together and easy to find.
- Prepare for where you are going. Think about what you will do if the equipment breaks or gets lost and if you are prepared.
- Advocate for yourself if you do not understand or hear something.
When preparing for the airport, here are some tips to remember.
- When making your reservation for your flight, many airlines allow you to disclose your hearing loss and the special assistance that you need. This may include being able to get pre-board on your boarding pass.
- Airports can be busy and noisy. If you don’t understand something or need assistance, explain your hearing loss and ask for help.
- You do not need to remove your hearing technology when going through airport security. Often, I will mention it to the TSA officer in case they give me directions or if I don’t hear them.
- When you are at the gate of an airport, be aware of potential announcements and gate changes. If you are traveling alone, let someone who works at the airport or sitting near you know that you have a hearing loss and ask if they can assist you if there are announcements.
When staying at a hotel, here are some tips to remember:
- Many hotels have rooms for individuals with hearing loss. When booking a room, ensure to ask for a room that is accessible for individuals with hearing loss.
- Bring your alarm clock that you use at home. This may be your vibrating alarm clock that you use everyday or a travel alarm clock. Often the alarm clocks in hotels are not set for the correct time or don’t work.
When thinking about where you are going, ensure that you have the support to have a successful and fun trip.
This may include carrying a card that explains your hearing loss in another language in case there is a communication breakdown. You may also download a translating app on your phone. If you need an interpreter, ensure to secure these accommodations before the trip. If you are going someplace with water, pack a waterproof device or a drying container. Traveling is a lot of fun but requires preparation. Don’t let the trip preparation overwhelm you. Think about the tools that you use on a daily basis and ensure that you have those tools and back up in case something happens.