Summer travel is upon us, and taking a few extra minutes to ensure you have everything you need for your hearing instruments to perform at the best of their abilities, will make your travels that much more successful! Healthy Hearing had some tips for travel via different modes of transportation that we are excited to share with our blog readers.
1. Airline travel. If you’re traveling by air, it’s important to know that your hearing devices won’t be damaged by any of the scanning devices used by the Transportation Security Administration. That means you don’t need to remove your hearing aids to go through the security screening process at the airport.
In fact, the TSA prefers that you wear your hearing aids during this process just in case TSA officials need to communicate with you. You may want to turn the volume down, as some scanners can cause excessive noise in your hearing aids. Remember that alternate methods of screening, such as pat downs, are available upon request if you’re concerned about the safety of body scanners.
The TSA also recently launched a special hotline, TSA Cares, to assist passengers with disabilities or medical needs regarding their questions. This call line is designed to help passengers before reaching the airport, and can be reached by dialing 1-855-787-2227. Operators will be able to answer questions regarding security and boarding procedures, in addition to other passenger concerns.
Also, most hearing assisting devices are approved for in-flight use which means you don’t have to turn them off when the flight attendant asks passengers to power off their personal electronic devices (PED). The exception is a FM system, which falls under the same classification as a cell phone and must be switched off along with other PEDs.
2. By Train. When you travel by rail, let gate attendants know you have a hearing loss so they can make you aware of any gate changes — just in case you have trouble hearing the public address system in a busy terminal. Also, make sure to watch carefully as you’re walking near the tracks. With all of the noise in a train station, it’s important not to rely on hearing alone to know when a train is approaching the station.
3. By Car. If you’re driving to your destination, consider purchasing an extra large rearview mirror. This will help you see approaching emergency personnel instead of relying on sound alone. If other passengers are traveling with you, make sure you know the technology involved in your hearing instruments (many have directional microphones that will switch either automatically or with the touch of a button). Schedule an appointment with your audiologist if you have any questions on how your devices work, or how you might best use your devices while on the road.
If you’re still concerned with what protocol to follow depending on your mode of travel, don’t be afraid to contact the airline or motor system with remaining questions. Also, your audiologist can provide you with more tips on what to consider before traveling the open skies, rails or roads.