With summer upon us, some of us are planning a vacation that requires a certain level of travel. Whether by plane, train, car, bus or even ship, traveling can be a stressful experience, and it can be even more challenging when you or a loved one experiences hearing loss or other hearing problems. So, it is helpful if you are prepared while away from daily comforts.
Here are some valuable travel tips from the AARP that may help make you and your loved one’s travel and vacation as smooth and enjoyable as possible:
• Make a Game Plan. For those with hearing problems, going on vacation can present cer-tain challenges. Some advanced planning can help keep your trip running smoothly.
• Stay Up to Date. If you or your loved one uses a smart phone, it can be helpful to sign up for text or email alerts that will provide notifications on delays or cancellations. When re-serving a hotel or cruise line, request a room that is equipped with visual or tactile alarm and notification devices and is in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design.
• When in Doubt, Bring It Along. Heat and humidity can wreak havoc on hearing aid equipment. Consider purchasing drying equipment to keep your hearing aid in good working order. Also, if you plan to fly internationally, a voltage converter may be neces-sary to plug in your devices.
• Getting Through a Noisy Terminal. For those with a hearing impairment, background noise can make communicating problematic. Using a pen and paper to write down your verbal messages is a helpful way to communicate with others in a loud environment.
• Passing Through Security. Although passengers are permitted to keep hearing equipment activated when passing through metal detectors or body scanners at a security checkpoint, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) advises that a security officer be notified. Some people prefer to obtain a notification card, so they may discreetly alert security about their medical condition. This card can be accessed by visiting the website www.tsa.gov.
• When Flying Solo. When flying alone, it is especially critical that key people be notified of your hearing problem. These include airline gate staff, flight attendants and the passengers seated next to you. Make a point to let them know that you may not be able to hear announcements and will need someone to communicate them to you. In addition, it is permitted to keep your hearing equipment turned on, even after the standard flight announcement made to turn off all electronic devices.
• Take Advantage of Rail Discounts. Amtrak offers a 15-percent discount to an adult passenger with a disability and to his or her traveling companion.
• Busing It. When traveling by bus, it is also important to communicate your hearing loss to the ticket agent and driver in order to find out about announcements and perhaps, receive priority seating. If you’re thinking about using Greyhound, the bus company offers a Dis-abilities Travel Assistance Line (800-752-4841) to request extra assistance.
• Choose the Right Cruise Experience. When looking into cruise lines for your next vaca-tion, it is helpful to find out if accommodations are made for the hearing-impaired. For example, you may want to ask if assisted-listening devices, closed-captioning and sign language interpretation services are available.
•Once You’re On Board. Always keep in mind that no matter what mode of public travel you choose, once on board it is essential to inform key service personnel of you or your loved one’s hearing loss.
Also, remember that it is important to protect and maintain hearing aids while traveling, so they continue to perform at the optimum level throughout the vacation.