Air travel tips for people with hearing loss

  Posted June 13, 2019

Before your trip

make sure you’re prepared for any minor hiccups–such as your hearing aid batteries dying out. You also may want to visit your hearing healthcare professional to make sure your devices are in good shape before you travel with your hearing aids. Don’t forget your cleaning kit!

Getting through security

Fortunately, you don’t need to take out your hearing aids before you walk through security. If you do wear your hearing aid through security, you may want to let TSA personnel know. Depending on the device, you may get flagged for additional screening. If you’re not wearing them, do not place them directly on the conveyer belt or in the plastic bins, as that may generate static electricity that can damage them.

Are you in the loop?

An increasing number of airports have installed induction loop systems, which consist of a loop of wire that produces an electromagnetic signal received directly by hearing aids. Induction loop systems allow hearing aid and cochlear implant users to hear more clearly despite the presence of background noise or poor acoustics. To be connected to the airport’s induction loop, you just need to switch your hearing aids to the “telecoil” or “T” setting. If you are not sure if your hearing aids have telecoils, ask your hearing healthcare provider.

On board your flight

The good news: You don’t have to turn off your hearing aids when flight attendants announce that all devices must be turned off and stowed away in seat pockets.

The bad news: On-board entertainment, like TV shows and movies, may not have captioning. And pilots and flight attendants frequently make announcements that can be hard to hear–even for people with perfect hearing.

Depending on the severity of your hearing loss, you may want to let a flight attendant know that you won’t be able to clearly hear crew announcements. And it’s not a bad idea to bring along your own entertainment, whether that be reading or downloading some videos on a tablet. Lastly, don’t forget to take steps to avoid ear pain while flying.

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