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Tips for using public transportation with hearing loss

public transportation with hearing loss

The thought of traveling with hearing loss can be more than a little daunting.

The thing about traveling is that it involves so many things which in essence are out of our hands. It is in a sense surrendering and hoping that all works out. Well, that is one way of looking at the situation. However, I prefer to leave very little to chance. So, here is my personal experience and best tips for using public transportation with hearing loss and making a trip turn into an adventure.

Stay calm

I don’t want to seem esoteric, but it is a strange fact that if you are too stressed about a situation things tend to become something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. And, this isn’t some strange otherworldly interference, but plain and simple logic.

When we are stressed we make all kinds of blunders and mistakes. We mishear things, fail to concentrate properly and generally attract the worst kinds of chaos into our lives.

It doesn’t have to be like that. Because we need to remember that we are in charge of how we choose to react to situations. When we’re tense and stressed we will tend to react quickly to situations, without stopping to fully appreciate everything that is going on.

A calm person will act, but not react. They will examine and assess everything and then be in the position to choose how they will act. They get to decide, not outside events. This places them fully in control.

Plan ahead

So, the question is, how do we get into the position of being this mythical calm person? Well, certainly not by worrying, that’s for sure. The simple answer and, it really is an easy straightforward one, is, by being prepared.

Whenever I’m considering travel, whether it’s for business or pleasure, I plan ahead. By knowing all the variables, I can avoid most of those things which can go wrong. Doing this makes me not only aware but also in command, at least of my own emotional responses to any unavoidable issues which might come my way. In a sense, when we choose to travel by public transport, we put ourselves in the hands of others and, this can seem a frightening proposition if we happen to have a disadvantage to those around us.

In order to feel safe and secure, we need to make certain that we are as well-prepared as possible. There is nothing worse than trying to make yourself understood while standing in a long queue and, with people shuffling behind you.

“In order to feel safe and secure, we need to make certain that we are as well-prepared as possible.”

We need to meet these challenges head-on. The way to do that is to prepare long before your journey ever takes place. There will be from time to time an unexpected reason to travel, but even with this, you can make the best of things, once you realize the best way to go about things, travel-wise.

If you are having to use buses, find out ahead of time what the fare is and make certain you have the exact money, this saves further questions and makes the driver’s life a lot easier. Doing this you need only put down your money and ask or show the driver your destination.

Many trains and buses now also have screens showing stops and stations along the route. This saves trying to work out how far you are along an unknown journey. And, it also saves you having to ask anyone.

Buy tickets ahead of time

The easiest way to buy tickets is online. Doing it this way will also give you a seat reservation, which makes things much easier and also ensures you a much more comfortable experience. You can also either print out your travel itinerary or have it on your mobile device, ready for your future journey.

Use an app to get information

Most bus services and all train services have downloadable apps, so you can have up to the minute information on your chosen service. These show delays and other issues which may affect your journey.

Take advantage of in-place accommodations

As a hard of hearing person in the UK, you can obtain a disabled persons railcard which offers one-third off most train journeys for the cardholder and another accompanying passenger. This can be a huge saving if you travel a lot and can really open up train travel as an option.

If buying at a station, most will have a hearing loop fitted, however, never expect a loop to be working or even switched on. Many staff members have little or no understanding of how these helpful pieces of technology aid those of us who wear hearing aids and, will often assume that they work as if by magic.

The trick here is to have an old-fashioned notebook and pen or pencil. Yes, you could write notes on your phone, but with paper, you can write questions and the helpful counter staff will be only too happy to write their replies too.

Enjoy the adventure

Being prepared will make any future journey a much more pleasant experience. As a hearing challenged traveler, it will give you confidence in your ability to get to your chosen destination, without having to make a fuss or disturb others. So, here’s to your next adventure.

PR Hilton
PR Hilton
Phonak hEARo, Phil is an author, journalist and therapist, living on the beautiful North Yorkshire coast with his wife Raine and their three children. Phil was diagnosed in 2016 with mild to moderate Sensorineural hearing loss in both ears and tinnitus. He uses Phonak silver digital hearing aids with automatic volume controls.