Vacations are a much-needed respite from the stress and monotony of daily life. If you’re a Santa Barbara resident with hearing loss, you’ll need to pack more than a camera and sunscreen in your carry-on bag. Your hearing aids will accompany you on your trip, too. Summer travel season may be over, but the holidays are fast approaching, and many of you will be traveling over the river and through the woods (to grandmother’s house, you go!).
October is National Audiology Awareness Month, an opportunity to share information about audiology and hearing loss. The following tips will help you prepare for travel with hearing aids.
Hearing Aid Travel Do’s
When traveling with hearing aids, the following tips will help ensure you are prepared.
- Pack extra batteries and tubing. Nothing ruins a vacation faster than running out of important hearing aid components midway through your trip (with the possible exception of lost luggage or a bout of malaria, of course). Make sure to pack enough to last you the entire trip – and then some, just in case! Store your batteries and any electronic parts in a waterproof container and avoid exposing them to extreme temperatures for a prolonged period of time.
- Invest in a dehumidifier. Moisture is public enemy #1 for your hearing aids. If you’re traveling to a beachfront destination, rainy climate or someplace humid, bring along a dehumidifier to use overnight. These machines remove moisture and wax from your hearing aids while you sleep, preventing long-term damage.
- Bring a waterproof case. Again, because of the dangers posed by moisture, you’ll want to bring along a waterproof case to keep your hearing aids safe and dry. Most are pretty inexpensive and will go a long way toward protecting your investment.
- Use every tool available for successful communication. When communicating with strangers at the airport, your hotel, or in restaurants, you are faced with many potential challenges – especially when dealing with people who are not used to communicating with those who are hard of hearing. Communication tools such as printed documents, maps, and smartphones can all help make the process smoother.
Hearing Aid Travel Don’ts
While it’s important to follow the above tips when traveling with hearing aids, there are certain things you’ll want to avoid. DO NOT do any of the following:
- Put your hearing aids wherever it’s “convenient” before bed. Just like you do at home, you’ll need to store your hearing aids in the same safe place every night. Designate a spot in your hotel room where they will be free from dust, dirt, and moisture, and be sure to store them there every night before bed.
- Take your hearing aids out in the airport. TSA recommends keeping your hearing aids in during security screening. Removing them opens up the possibility of loss or damage. Make sure to let your TSA agent know you are wearing hearing aids as you pass through security in order to ensure a pleasant and quick experience.
- Pack your hearing aids or accessories in checked luggage. Always pack your hearing aids and other accessories, including batteries, in your carry-on luggage to avoid the risk of loss or damage. It’s a good idea to pack a few extra sets of batteries in a different carry-on bag, such as a purse or backpack, in case of an emergency.
- Slack on your cleaning routine. Daily cleanings are vital to keeping your hearing aids operating efficiently, even while on vacation. Keep up with your normal daily cleaning routine to ensure you hear your best the whole trip!