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6 tips for traveling with hearing loss

6 tips for traveling with hearing loss

Traveling with hearing loss can pose some challenges. Whether it’s being unable to hear announcements at a train station or feeling rushed when you have to ask, “what?” over and over. Phonak Open Ears’ blogger Ellie has put together a “Deaf Person’s Travel Survival Guide” to help you though your next journey.

I’ve had my fair share of travelling experiences being ‘disabled’. At times it can be complicated, but of course, it’s all worth it when you arrive at your destination! 

Here are my 6 tips for traveling with hearing loss:

1. Get a disabled travel card

traveling with hearing loss

There are so many options for disabled travel cards, such as concessionary bus passes, disabled railcards, etc. If you travel by public transportation regularly, reach out to the transportation companies to discuss options. Many times they can prove a discounted travel card, which are also great ways of instantly showing that you’re deaf –  so the staff might give you more specialized attention.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

traveling with hearing loss

If you’re in a busy airport or train station, it’s very easy to get lost. Many times these spaces are also loud, which makes it difficult to hear announcements. Try and look for the visual display boards. If this doesn’t help, then find the nearest member of staff, or help desk and someone will direct you where to go. If you struggle understanding them, ask them to show you, or to write it down.

3. Book assistance

traveling with hearing loss

I’ve had a fair share of experience with ‘assistance staff.’ I always recommend it in airports, as you can whizz through customs quickly! The only odd thing is that they somehow always think that deaf people require wheelchairs? I’m not sure how that works out! If they bring you one, you might as well just get in and enjoy the ride!

4. Make the staff aware of your needs

flying-people-sitting-public-transportation

If you’re on an airplane, the flight staff can talk you through the safety procedures separately. Ask a flight attendant to notify you when arriving at your stop if can’t hear announcements. In case of emergency, make others around you aware that you’re deaf, so they can make sure you exit safely. All these little things can make travelling less stressful.

5. Have the exact change!

traveling with hearing loss 

In the UK, bus drivers often seem to be the least deaf-aware people that I know. They’re busy people, with a schedule to follow, and the last thing they want is to have to explain something over again. I find that it makes traveling so much easier when you have the right change when you board the bus. If you don’t know your exact route, it’s also helpful to have a map of where you want to go, and show the driver. This saves time and makes communication easier!

6. Don’t be afraid to admit your deafness

traveling with hearing loss

If you can’t understand someone, tell them that you’re deaf or hard of hearing. If you don’t, how do you expect them to suddenly change their communication and do things like facing you when talking? If you tell them, the situation will move a lot quicker than if you keep saying “what? I can’t hear you.”

If you’ve had any interesting travel stories or tips you’d like to share, please comment below!

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Author Details
Jill von Bueren is the editor-in-chief of HearingLikeMe.com.Originally from the U.S., she now resides in Zurich, Switzerland. She has a background in journalism and is currently working on her second novel.
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Jill von Bueren is the editor-in-chief of HearingLikeMe.com.Originally from the U.S., she now resides in Zurich, Switzerland. She has a background in journalism and is currently working on her second novel.
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