Head of Customer Content Experience
Audiology Expert & Founder
Yes! Travel is an adventure that opens doors to new destinations, experiences, and opportunities – we don’t believe hearing loss should hold you back from these experiences. We understand that travelling with hearing loss and hearing aids, whether in the UK or abroad can present unique set of challenges.
This article will equip you with all the information, tips and tricks to ensure your travel plans are smooth sailing. We take a look at what assistance is available and how to make the most of it, navigating airports, flying with hearing loss, going on a cruise with hearing aids, using trains, protecting your hearing aids and most importantly, getting the best out of your travels.
Whether you are travelling with hearing loss in the UK or abroad, here’s our essential list to pack no matter where your destination or means of getting there:
Spare batteries: Always carry spare batteries with you when travelling. You may need to change the batteries during your trip, so it's essential to have extras on hand.
Cleaning kit: Pack a small cleaning kit with a brush and a soft cloth to keep your hearing aids free from debris, earwax, and moisture.
Dehumidifier: A portable dehumidifier can be invaluable, particularly when travelling to humid destinations. It helps remove excess moisture from your hearing aids, reducing the risk of damage.
Storage case: Invest in a sturdy, protective storage case for your hearing aids. This ensures they are safely stored when not in use, protecting them from potential harm.
Replacement parts: Bring essential replacement parts like earmolds, domes, or tubes plus spare wax guards and filters if your hearing aids require them. These components can sometimes wear out or get damaged, and having spares on hand can prevent disruptions whilst away as they may be hard to find on your travels.
User manual: Keep a digital or printed copy of your hearing aids' user manual in your travel kit. It can be a handy reference if you encounter any issues while on the road.
Travel hearing aid charger: If your hearing aids are rechargeable a travel charger will ensure they are fully charged on the go so you don't miss out on conversations or experiences due to a flat battery.
Remote or smartphone app: If your hearing aids are compatible, ensure you have your remote control or smartphone app ready to go with you. These tools can help you adjust settings and manage your hearing aids on the go.
Travelling by air with hearing loss can be a smooth and enjoyable experience with a bit of thoughtful planning. Begin by researching different airlines and their accessibility services. Each airline has its own set of services and designated assistance teams to aid passengers with disabilities, including those with hearing loss.
Explore their websites or contact their customer service to learn about the specific accommodations they offer.
When booking your flight online, many airlines provide an option to request assistance during the reservation process. This is typically found under the 'Manage My Booking' or 'Special Assistance' section of their website. The process may vary slightly from one airline to another, so it's advisable to familiarise yourself with the booking procedure of your chosen airline.
When requesting assistance, be sure to specify your needs related to your hearing loss. This might include the need for visual alerts, written communication, or additional support during boarding and in-flight announcements.
Some airlines offer pre-boarding assistance for passengers with disabilities. This allows you to board the plane ahead of the general passengers, providing extra time and support for settling in and stowing your carry-on items. Choose your seat strategically. You may prefer a seat closer to the front of the plane, where it's generally quieter and communication with flight attendants can be easier.
Yes, when flying with hearing aid batteries you can pack them in your hand luggage. In fact, it's a good practice to keep hearing aid batteries in your carry-on bag rather than placing them in your checked luggage.
It's advisable to keep hearing aid batteries in their original packaging. This helps airport security personnel identify them more easily during screening. Additionally, for ease at security keep them in a clear, resealable bag.
Please note: international travel with hearing aids can differ from country to country, while hearing aid batteries are generally allowed in hand luggage, it's a good idea to check the specific regulations and procedures of the airline or airport at your departure location, as rules may vary in different countries.
Each airport will also have its own website you can check for accessibility information, take advantage of these services they are there to make your experience as easy and as enjoyable as possible.
Most airports are fitted with induction loops ideal for those with hearing aids with telecoils. They are usually found throughout the airport, look for signs showing the 'sympathetic ear' symbol, these can be helpful for communicating with staff behind counters or for boarding announcements made over loudspeakers which can be hard to pick out from the bustle and noise of a busy airport.
Although we all usually travel with our mobile phones, if you find yourself caught without battery some airports also have text pay phones or payphones that are adapted for hearing aids, ideal for making further arrangements.
Additionally, some airports such as Heathrow make use of SignLive. Accessible 24 hours, Signlive provides online video interpreting services allowing deaf passengers to communicate with airport staff by using an app which connects them to a qualified British Sign Language interpreter within seconds.
Make sure to download the Signlive app before you leave for the airport, this will help in avoiding any technical problems. If you find yourself requiring extra help keep an eye out for assistance in host areas, where staff will be available to solve any unforeseen problems and be happy to help.
Can I wear hearing aids through airport security?
Yes, you can wear hearing aids through airport security. Hearing aids are medical devices and usually security personnel are aware of this. In fact, it is advised you keep your hearing aids in place during the security screening process to ensure clear communication and avoid misunderstandings. When you approach the security checkpoint, remember to inform the agents that you are wearing hearing aids.
In most cases, security personnel are accustomed to dealing with travellers who wear hearing aids and will do their best to ensure a smooth and respectful screening process. The key is to be prepared, informed, and communicative to make the process as easy as possible.
However, it's a good idea to check the specific regulations and procedures of the airport or security agency at your departure location, as rules may vary in different countries.
If you are travelling solo with hearing loss, it's important to inform airline staff and flight attendants who can provide you with necessary alerts and assistance. Additionally, consider informing your seatmate who can inform you of important announcements in case of an emergency.
Many airlines offer closed captioning for safety announcements on their in-flight entertainment systems. If available, make use of this feature to read safety instructions and important information. It's essential to understand the safety procedures, so you are well-prepared in the event of an emergency.
Yes, however, if your hearing aids are Bluetooth compatible, remember to set them to airplane mode when instructed to do so by the flight crew. Similar to mobile phones this will ensure that your hearing aids do not interfere with the aircraft's communication systems.
Yes, you can take your hearing aid charger on a plane and it's a good idea to keep it in your hand luggage so it's easily accessible. You don't want your hearing aids running out or low on charge if there are unexpected delays.
Yes, many cruise lines are well-equipped to accommodate passengers with various disabilities, including those with hearing impairments. Here are some tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable cruise experience:
Inform the cruise line: Make sure to inform the cruise line of hearing impairments, this is important not only for your enjoyment of the cruise but also in emergency situations.
Visual alert systems: On most cruises, you can be provided with a wireless visual alert system and/or text phones via which the crew can inform you of any emergencies or announcements that may affect you.
Induction loops on board: Again, plan ahead and check all accommodations available such as hearing loops which are usually available at help desks and around the ships for announcements.
Hearing support systems: Theatres and venues on board will also often supply infra-red hearing support systems with compatible headsets. Once at the venue, it is important to speak with staff who will direct you where to sit to get the best results from the equipment.
Cruises can be a fantastic way to explore different destinations and enjoy a variety of onboard experiences. With proper planning and clear communication with the cruise line, you can have a memorable and comfortable cruise whilst confidently managing your hearing loss.
Passenger assistance is available via your rail provider, when booking, contact their customer support to find out what they offer. Accommodations can include using Signlive on board, trains are usually equipped with hearing loops and companies are now allowing hearing dogs on board their trains.
You might also find it helpful to download the Passenger Assistance app. The app allows you to inform the company of your journey and send your request directly to the train operator, who will arrange assistance for you.
Additionally, if you are a resident of England, Scotland, or Wales and are either registered as deaf with your local authority or use hearing aids, you are eligible for a Disabled Person's Railcard. The cost of this card is £20 for one year or £54 for three years. The card offers a third-off discount on most adult rail fares for travel on the National Rail network in Great Britain.
It will also allow you to save money for a friend or family member, as, if they are travelling with you, they can also get a third off their rail fare. To prove you qualify for a Disabled Persons’ Railcard, you’ll need to show evidence that you are registered as deaf or use a hearing aid, this can include:
Protecting your hearing aids on holiday, especially in new environments with sand or higher levels of humidity, is essential to keep them safe and ensure they continue to function. Prepare for all weathers and situations whether it is wind and rain on the deck of a cruise ship or trekking in humid rainforests.
Here are some tips to safeguard your hearing aids while travelling abroad and in the UK:
Invest in a protective case: Purchase a waterproof and dustproof hearing aid case. These cases are designed to keep moisture, sand, and dirt out. Ensure your hearing aids are stored in the case when not in use.
Use a dehumidifier: A hearing aid dehumidifier helps remove moisture from the devices which can build up in tubing or cause problems with the battery. Remember to use it regularly in a humid environment.
Waterproof covers: Consider investing in waterproof covers for your hearing aids. These covers can provide an extra layer of protection against water and humidity.
Waterproof hearing aids: If you plan to spend a lot of time in or around water, you may want to explore waterproof hearing aid options such as Phonak Audeo hearing aids, designed to withstand exposure to moisture.
Pack spare parts: Carry spare parts such as tubes, earmolds, or domes in case they need replacement. Moisture or sand ingress can sometimes cause issues with these components.
Change batteries carefully: When changing hearing aid batteries, make sure your hands are clean and dry to avoid introducing moisture. Store extra batteries in a sealed container.
General travel tips for those with hearing loss:
Communication cards: Consider carrying communication cards that explain your hearing loss. These cards can be shown to people you interact with, such as hotel staff, taxi drivers, or tour guides, to let them know about your condition and how to best communicate with you.
Pre-book tours and attractions: When booking tours and attractions, inform the organisers about your hearing loss. They may be able to provide specific accommodations or ensure that tour guides are trained to communicate effectively with you.
Finally, make sure you have adequate insurance!: When securing travel insurance for your hearing aids, it's vital to assess the policy's coverage for your devices. Declare your hearing aids as high-value items when purchasing insurance and provide their specified value if required. Confirm that the policy includes coverage for various circumstances, including loss, accidental damage, and theft of your hearing aids.
Additionally, ensure that your chosen policy offers worldwide coverage, protecting your hearing aids in both your home country and during international travel. These considerations help safeguard your hearing aids and provide peace of mind during your journeys.
In summary, travelling, wherever the destination, should be accessible to everyone, regardless of hearing loss. This comprehensive guide has provided you with invaluable insights, tips, and strategies to ensure your travels are smooth and enjoyable.
Whether it's packing essential items like spare batteries, cleaning kits, and protective cases, or navigating the challenges of air travel, airport security, and cruise trips, you can explore the world with confidence.
Concerned that hearing loss might be limiting your experiences? Don't let it! Hearing aids can empower you to engage more fully with the world around you. Feeling held back by hearing loss is a common worry, but it doesn't have to define your life.
Take the first step towards a world of improved hearing and enhanced experiences, call us free on 0808 253 5120 to speak with one of our team.
Do not spend hundreds of pounds without getting a second opinion from us.
When we refer to a product as 'Latest Launch', we mean it is the latest to be released on the market.
When we refer to a product as 'New', we mean that the product is the newest hearing aid model on the market.
When we refer to a product as 'Superseded', we mean that there is a newer range available which replaces and improves on this product.
When we refer to a product as an 'Older Model', we mean that it is has been superseded by at least two more recent hearing aid ranges.