While there are few more logistics to travelling when you have a hearing loss, you shouldn’t let it dissuade you from going. Remember, most countries will have hearing aid clinics that stock the products you need. If necessary, you’ll also be able to get help from the closest audiologist.
Whether you’re travelling overseas or interstate, here are some tips:
Planning your trip
- Map out the nearest hearing aid clinics before you leave, so you know where to turn in an emergency
- Take out separate travel insurance. Specify your condition and list any hearing devices, in case they’re lost, stolen or broken while you’re away
- Contact your airline and hotels to alert them of your hearing loss and any specific needs
- When you’re booking your seat on a plane, make sure you’re not sitting in an exit row, due to safety regulations
What to do if you have hearing aids
- Thoroughly clean and re-tube your hearing aid before you leave
- Take enough batteries for the entire trip (get some from your Australian Hearing centre)
- Pack all your hearing aid cleaning tools
- Take the hearing aid box or a dedicated container for safe storage when you’re not wearing the device
- If any of your old hearing aids are working, pack them as spares
- Check your contents insurance policy and list hearing aids separately as an item that you take out of the house, in case you lose them while you’re away
What to do if you have a cochlear implant
- Take your identification card or letter from your audiologist confirming the implant to show customs and security officials
- It’s normal to hear a buzz or hum when you walk through security. Consider turning off your telecoil for this.
- If you’re carrying a loaner processor, check that it’s off and safely in your carry-on luggage. Don’t put it directly on the conveyor belt as static electricity may build up and corrupt the MAP (your impant's personalised programming).
- Your implant can’t interfere with the plane’s navigation or communication system. There’s no need to turn it off during take-off or landing. You need to hear staff as they give you the safety briefing.
Maintaining hearing devices isn’t difficult wherever you are, but you need to be organised. If you do have an emergency with your hearing, there are more than 115 Australian Hearing centres across the country, to assist with hearing aid repairs and checks and the replacement of batteries. If you’re travelling abroad, hearing aid clinics and anywhere with a qualified audiologist will be able to help.