If you’re going on a round the world trip, a city break, a beach holiday or more, then you know packing your bag can be a tense situation (thank you flight carry on weight and size restrictions!)
But before I even think about grabbing my clothes, shades or even my toothbrush, I lay out what I need to support my deafness while I’m travelling.
This guide will help you if you wear hearing aids and you have moderate, severe or profound hearing loss. This is the standard guide meaning these are the bare essentials that won’t take too much room in your bag. (Watch this space for the deluxe version and also a cochlear implant guide).
So here it is before you start thinking about the kitchen sink.
1. Spare hearing aid
Okay, what’s wrong with the ones you’re wearing? Nothing. But you won’t believe how fickle hearing aids can be. I’m told that each hearing aid has a lifespan of 5-7 years, I view this data with a degree of suspicion as despite all my attempts to maintain my hearing aid, there will come a time where it will cease to stop working. For me, it’s usually an inappropriate time whether it was on the road in Brazil in the middle of no where, or in Uganda building a school. Luckily, I had a spare hearing aid to hand and I was able to keep travelling until I got to a place where I could get it mended.
Don’t take the chance.
2. Hearing aid batteries
Ah, we all love hearing the ominous beep in our ears signalling the hearing aid battery is soon to run out (in my case usually in 10 minutes). Thus we have a mad dash to our bags and pockets to find (and pray) there’s a spare to hand. Again, this will happen in inopportune times so it’s a great idea to have a pack of spares to hand on your person.
But what about travelling? If you’re from the UK, you know we can get batteries from the National Health Service or from charities such as Action on Hearing Loss Hear to Help Clinics. Remember to stock up for as long as you are travelling (and add another 25% just to be on the safe side). You never know when it will run out.
If you’re from outside the UK, you can find them at your nearest hearing clinic.
3. Music ‘headphones’
I LOVE listening to music, bad cheesy music I do admit (Steps, S Club 7, Spice Girls, anyone?) There will be times when you’re travelling for long periods of time whether it’s on a long flight, a scenic bus journey or a night train when you’re looking for something to do. In my case, it’s listening to music. So, how do I listen to music? I mean, the standard ear phones don’t work and the covered ear headphones doesn’t either.
Ah, if you don’t know, then you’re missing out on a trick!
Using your telecoil setting (T) on your hearing aid, you will be able to hear a small buzzing sound at first (that means it’s working). Using a number of assistive hearing products, you can definitely listen to your favourite band with gusto without having to strain your ears. I have two favourite listening methods which are:
Plug the neckloop into the jack of your MP3 player or smartphone, and place your head through the neckloop for it to sit on your shoulders. Play your song and if you have your hearing aid on the T-setting, you will be able to stream the music direct to your hearing aids within the inducted loop system that exists around your head from the neck loop. Easy, eh? You can tuck it under your jacket or jumper or you can just let it all hang out in front of you.
Another listening device that looks like earphones. Only at the end where you might find the buds, there are hooks. You place the each hook on the top of your ear next to your hearing aid. Plug the other end into your music player jack and play the song. Like the neck loop above, the ear hooks generate an inducted loop system that also streams music to your hearing aids.
With these two listening devices, you can rock your head to…. Beyoncé?
4. Hearing aid drying box
If you’re going to a country where the humidity is high or you’re going to a destination where your hearing aid may likely to get wet, it’s worth investing into a hearing aid drying box. Moisture will get into the mechanics of your hearing aid and corrode them. However, with a drying box, you can place the hearing aids in at night when you’re sleeping and in the morning, your hearing aids should be good and dry as new.
I usually travel with a DB110 hearing aid dryer as not only it dries out the hearing aid but it blasts the ear moulds with UV light killing bacteria that may give you an ear infection.
5. Alarm clock for the deaf
Sleep is our friend… most of the time. As a deaf traveller, I get really annoyed if I missed my wake up call only to discover that my next transport has gone.
However, I’ve got around that by purchasing a vibrating travel alarm clock for under my pillow. With my trusty Sonic Traveller alarm clock, I can now wake up from the strong vibrations under my pillow and be assured to know that I will not miss my next transport or activity. No stress sleeping!
You can find out more about vibrating alarm clocks here: Travel alarm clocks
So that’s my packing list guide for Standard hearing aid wearers. What about you? Do you take anything else with you? Let me know in the comments below!
By the way, are you following me on Instagram yet? – The Deaf Traveller Instagram page