Make a Packing List & Check It Twice
Hands-down, this is the most important thing on your packing list when it comes to hearing aids – especially if you’re traveling internationally. You never know where you can find the batteries you need, so be sure to bring a supply that will last the entirety of your trip.
If you plan to go for an extended period of time, consider switching to rechargeable hearing aid batteries. These are batteries that can be removed from your hearing aids and recharged in a unit.
Rechargeable hearing aids (which differ from rechargeable hearing aid batteries) are designed with lithium-ion batteries which are not to be removed from the device. Rechargeable hearing aids come with a recharging unit that is simple and easy to use – place your hearing aids in them over night and wake up to freshly charged hearing aids. Some models last up to 24 hours on a single charge.
Pro tip for traveling abroad: make sure to check your destination’s power supply requirements. If they’re different that ones in the US, then make sure you have an adaptor.
Cleaning & Maintenance Supplies:
As you know, your hearing aids require daily upkeep to function properly. Make sure your cleaning tools are packed.
If you plan to go to a humid place, consider investing in a dehumidifying unit (some rechargeable hearing aid units have this feature already). Moisture and humidity are the mortal enemies of your hearing aids, so having a dehumidifier ensures that they are nice and dry when you wake up in the morning.
If you’re on vacation, there’s a chance you’re heading to a tropical paradise full of sand and ocean waves. Make sure you’ve got a place to store your hearing aids when you’re soaking in the water or taking in rays. Even more – remember to take out your hearing aids before jumping in!
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Regardless of your mode of transportation, you may experience difficulties with speech recognition in noisy places. If you’re in a foreign country where English is not the native language, you may struggle to understand what people are saying – especially if it’s loud around you.
For these moments, you may want to consider an assistive listening device to give you an extra boost. Some hearing aids with wireless streaming can be connected to a smartphone. Choose the feature that uses your smartphone’s microphone as an amplifier and place it by the speaker.
While they’re not super popular in the US, hearing loops are used worldwide in public transportation hubs and sites. You can find them at the Sydney Opera House in Australia and Westminster Abbey in London!
If your hearing aids are equipped with telecoils, you can loop into these systems and stream sounds directly to your ears.
Use technology to your advantage by getting alerts via text message or email. Print out all of your documentation if you do not plan to be in a place with internet connection. Look in your smartphone’s app store for apps that allow you to download maps while you’re connected to internet, to be used later offline. These maps are lifesavers if you’re in a place you don’t know particularly well and can’t get clear directions.
Notify the Concierge of Your Hearing Needs
While the US requires hotels and motels to provide accommodations for people with hearing loss, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, foreign hotels may not be subject to the same requirements. Be sure to notify the concierge of your hearing needs beforehand. They may offer vibrating alarm clocks or wakeup calls. Just in case, pack your own vibrating alarm clock – after all, you don’t want to miss the next leg of your trip!
For more information on hearing aid options and listening features, and assistive listening devices, contact a licensed hearing professional.