Maybe you’re finally going on that dream cruise. Or maybe you’re visiting family for the holidays. Whatever the reason, the winter travel season is coming up, and you may be wondering if traveling with hearing aids requires any special care.
What to Bring
First and most important: you definitely want to bring the hearing aids with you! Whatever your reason for travel, you won’t want to miss out. While there may be some situations where you’re better off not wearing the hearing aids – say, snorkeling – overall, it’s best to have them with you so that you can fully participate in group conversations, listen to tour guides, and everything else that a good trip entails. Make sure you remember to pack:
- The Hearing Aids
- Plenty of spare batteries, if your hearing aids are not rechargeable
- Your charger and its cord, if your hearing aids are rechargeable. If you’re traveling internationally, you may also need a plug adapter.
- If you won’t have electricity (this comes up on long hiking trips) and your hearing aids are rechargeable, you might look into external battery packs that your charger can plug into. Many hearing aid chargers have their own batteries built in that are good for up to three full charges; if you’re not sure if your charger has this, call us. An external battery pack can charge the charger and get you several more days of hearing aid use.
- Extra wax filters and domes. A clogged wax filter can render the hearing aid useless, so make sure you change these before you leave and make sure you have extras with you!
- Any accessories (such as a remote microphone) that you may use
- If you have a hearing aid drying case, you may want to bring this as well, particularly if you are traveling to a humid environment
Flying with Hearing Aids
Many people ask us whether hearing aids can be worn through airport security. The answer is YES. Leave them in unless specifically instructed otherwise by the TSA agents. You can also wear them on the plane, as their wireless signals will not interfere with airplane navigation equipment. Some hearing aids do have “flight mode” which will disable the wireless functions, but many do not, and it isn’t necessary to use this mode. You can even still use your Bluetooth functions – your phone needs to be in airplane mode, but you can have the Bluetooth active while in airplane mode, allowing you to use the hearing aid app, audio streaming, and other features during your flight.
If your hearing aids have a program meant for noisy environments, you may want to enable this on the airplane, to help reduce engine noise. It’s also worth advocating for yourself; don’t be afraid to tell the flight attendant that you have a hearing loss, and to ask them to repeat themselves when needed!
Don’t worry about your Phone
If your travels take you somewhere that you won’t have cell service or WiFi available, don’t worry – we’re often asked if the hearing aids will still work, and the answer is a resounding YES. The phone contains a number of handy extra features that give you convenient control over the hearing aids, but the hearing aids themselves will work just fine even if you leave your phone at home.
If you do have your phone but you don’t have service, Bluetooth will still work, so many of the phone features will not be affected by your lack of service. You won’t be able to update the hearing aids or connect directly with your audiologist without either cellular data or WiFi, but everything else will be just fine.
Don’t Lose Them!
During your trip, be extra careful not to lose your hearing aids. You will be out of your regular routine, and it can be easier to misplace them (say, when you’re taking them out for that snorkeling tour) than you normally would. You may want to have an additional carrying case to keep them safe during these situations.
What if Problems Arise?
If issues do arise with your hearing aids – one of them stops working, or you need a programming adjustment – contact your hearing care professional. If you’re an Earlux patient, we can help you just about anywhere! If you’re traveling internationally and need programming, you may not have cellular data, so you’ll want to be on WiFi for us to connect to you via the hearing aid app. Many issues can be solved via phone call or text message, though, so don’t hesitate to reach out!
Have a Great Time!
Most importantly, have fun! Travel can be a great opportunity to unplug, reconnect with loved ones, or experience new places and have an adventure. There’s no reason for your hearing loss to hold you back at all – just make sure you’re prepared, and go enjoy yourself!