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:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!