In recent times, air travel has become noticeably less comfortable. Factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, overbooked flights, and reduced food services, coupled with airlines attempting to maximize passenger capacity by compromising on legroom, have made flying a challenging endeavor.
For those coping with hearing impairments, these challenges are heightened. Hearing loss complicates various stages of the journey, from pre-flight instructions to gate change alerts and in-flight dialogues. The combination of masks and hearing aids further aggravates the situation, making travel even more daunting. The travel industry is yet to achieve inclusivity for all, but there are strategies those with hearing loss can employ to ease their journey.
Before Your Journey Begins
It’s wise to revisit some travel pointers tailored for those with hearing impairments, which might include a checklist to ensure essentials like hearing aid battery chargers aren’t overlooked. Schedule a visit with your audiologist to confirm your hearing aids are travel-ready. And, always pack your cleaning kit!
Overcoming Airport Obstacles
If you’ve experienced close brushes with missing flights due to hearing challenges, plan ahead! You can make it a habit to convey your hearing impairment at every step: during ticket booking, security checks, boarding, and even baggage claim. You could even use a hearing service dog to aid you further.
Security and Hearing Aids
Good news: You need not remove your hearing aids at security checkpoints! However, notify the TSA staff about them. And remember, never place them discreetly on the conveyer or in bins, as this might damage them.
Hearing Solutions at Airports
Numerous airports are installing induction loop systems, enhancing audio clarity for hearing aid and cochlear implant users amidst ambient noise. To tap into this system, switch your aids to the “telecoil” setting.
While flight attendants might request other electronic devices to be stowed away, your hearing aids can remain active. On the downside, in-flight entertainment might lack captioning, and announcements can be challenging to comprehend. Informing the flight crew about your hearing impairment can be helpful, and it might be wise to carry personal entertainment.
Understanding Your Rights
The Air Carrier Access Act, enacted in 1986, lays out provisions for individuals with hearing impairments:
- Accessible reservation and information services
- Clear information at airports post self-identification of hearing loss
- Compulsory captions on airport televisions
- Effective on-flight communication post self-identification
- Acceptance of service animals
- Reservation Rights: While booking, select “hearing loss or impairment.” This informs the airlines about your requirements both before and during the flight.
- Seating and Boarding Rights: You can request seats closer to the front, facilitating easier communication with flight attendants.
- Communication Rights: After identifying your hearing impairment, you can request specific accommodations such as direct pre-boarding notifications, updates about in-flight conditions, and more.
Travel might be challenging, but with preparation and awareness of your rights, it can be made more comfortable for those with hearing impairments.
Schedule an appointment with us today!
Want to learn more? Set up an appointment with one of our hearing care specialists! Along with providing advice, we provide hearing evaluations and hearing aid fitting services to help you feel confident in managing your hearing health.