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My biggest struggle while traveling with hearing loss

traveling with hearing loss
This summer I did quite a bit of traveling. I was a camp counselor in Arizona, and visited Ohio, New York and California. Three of these trips I did alone. 

During my travels, I’ve had to learn to be independent in getting where I need to be at the right time. This is when I realized my biggest struggle while traveling with hearing loss: waking up. 

Waking up with hearing loss

If you have hearing loss, or live with someone who does, you probably already know that it’s not so easy waking them up. While “normal hearing” people can wake up with a ringing alarm clock or a chime on their phone, I rely on an alarm clock that flashes and vibrates. I love my alarm clock at, but it’s not the most portable.

As I was traveling, I realized that waking up was one of the biggest challenges for me.

At camp, I found myself relying on the other counselor in my cabin to wake me up so I could then get all my girls up. I didn’t think much of it then, since I know I’m not the only one at camp who might do this. Staying up for midnight rounds for the kids can be exhausting and makes it hard to get up in the mornings!

Read more: Enjoying summer with hearing loss

But then I went to Ohio. In Ohio I went to CampUS to give a presentation to a camp for deaf teens. This was the first moment where I realized that I needed to find a way to become independent while traveling. I’m not sure why it hadn’t dawned on me, but I couldn’t necessarily rely on others to wake me up here as all the other counselors were also deaf. Several of us were trying to figure out how we’d wake up in the morning. We managed to make it work. That’s the thing – you always find a way to deal with it and make it work even if it’s not ideal. 

Read more: 7 night-time accessories for deaf people

“I couldn’t necessarily rely on others to wake me up here as all the other counselors were also deaf”

For the New York trip, I decided to take my at-home alarm clock with me. I didn’t care that it wasn’t portable, I just wanted to defeat the simplest task of waking myself up. Sure, I could have asked my mom to come wake me up as she was there too, but we had different schedules. Not to mention the fact that I am 18. I shouldn’t need to, nor do I want to, rely on my mom to wake me up even on vacations/work trips!

Victory

Bringing my alarm clock from home was the best thing I did. But because it was so big, I started looking for a more portable solution. I found many that I had not known existed! In that moment, I had the smallest form of independence I had longed for. While small, it was a big accomplishment.

To find ways to be completely independent no matter where you are, what you’re doing, and whether or not your ears are on or off is huge! It makes a big difference when you can go to bed at night knowing that you will wake up on time the next morning. Finding independence while traveling – check!

“It makes a big difference when you can go to bed at night knowing that you will wake up on time the next morning.”

No matter how simple and small, maybe even pointless it may seem, finding a way to wake myself up while on my trip to New York was my victory against deafness.

Read more: Why I’m jealous of my friends with hearing loss

Emmy Cartwright
Author Details
Emmy is a Phonak Teen Advisory Board member and wears an Advanced Bionics Cochlear Implant and Phonak CROS.
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Emmy Cartwright
Emmy is a Phonak Teen Advisory Board member and wears an Advanced Bionics Cochlear Implant and Phonak CROS.
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