Suffering from severe deafness in one ear and profound deafness in the other, I have to prepare my trips abroad to avoid stressful situations as much as possible. Air travel is already not easy for people with normal hearing, it is even more difficult for people who are hard of hearing. It is therefore essential to be well organized!
Your passport, ID and plane tickets must be in a specific place in your jacket, bag or carry-on. As soon as you take them out, remember to put them back in the same place. This saves time and avoids stressful situations. Imagine yourself looking for your papers, the person behind you trying to pass and the controller asking you to step aside but you didn’t hear him.
Your Phonak hearing aids and Roger™ hearing aid should be charged to 100%. The charger or the batteries available in the hand luggage. This gives you peace of mind knowing you can count on your devices to help you stay connected to the world around you.
Also read: Traveling when you are hard of hearing
It seems obvious, but you might as well remember that airports and train stations are very noisy places with disastrous acoustics. As a hard of hearing person, even equipped with hearing aids, it is very difficult to rely on your hearing to find your way around. Announcements are often inaudible, especially when spoken in a foreign language.
The best way to get your bearings is visually. Stay close to information boards and use airline apps.
“The best way to identify yourself is visually”
In case of doubt or need for information, do not hesitate to ask for help from the professionals present on site. Let them know your situation early in the conversation so they can speak clearly and louder. To help improve your understanding of speech in noise, you can also use Roger™ microphones like Roger On™. By holding it in your hand and pointing it in the direction of your interlocutor, Roger On works like a third ear. It recognizes whether speech is coming from the left or right side of the user and provides spatial information to combine audio and visual cues. It also serves as a conversation aid by automatically selecting the person speaking. Remember to warn your interlocutor before using it so that he does not think that it is recorded!
Critical passages such as security and baggage checks or border crossings are potential sources of delicate situations. Indeed, there are sometimes people waiting, the controllers are often in glass boxes where the sound is bad. These can also talk to you with your head down looking at your passport. This thus decreases the transmission of their voice and does not allow lip reading to be possible.
Do not panic ! Make it clear that you are hard of hearing and that you did not understand the instructions or their requests. Do not hesitate to ask them to repeat while looking at you.
If you are asked to remove your hearing aids, first explain your situation and the function of your devices. Some will allow you to keep them and others will require you to remove them anyway. If this is the case, also explain clearly that this is not a problem but that you will have even more difficulty hearing and understanding them.
You are now well settled in the plane, but your organization is not finished. A lot of things happen on a trip. The service of drinks, meals, turbulence etc. It is essential to warn the staff on board so that they know your situation, especially in the event of a problem.
As far as I am concerned, I take off my hearing aids during long journeys to rest my ears. I store them in their charger for several reasons. Recharge them if necessary, protect them, do not risk damaging them by crushing them, or forgetting them after 8-10 hours of flight.
You can now take the opportunity to rest! Have a good trip !!!