Having traveled frequently with her bilateral CIs, Keri Reynolds understands how important it is to be well-organized, informed and prepared for a holiday away. Keri is part of the MED-EL USA Team and shares with us her personal top tips for going on holiday with a cochlear implant.
I travel A LOT! I mostly travel by airplane, and I then use taxis or rental cars to get from point A to point B. People ask me pretty frequently about how my CIs have impacted my travel experience. Here are my Top Ten Tips for Travel.
10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. This is true throughout all aspects of our lives. I don’t hesitate when I am traveling to let people know I am a CI user—whether it’s in the airport, on the plane or train, or at the hotel. I do this for safety and to also make sure I am not missing any important messages or communication because of my hearing loss.
9. Inform the team at airport security scanners and metal detectors that you have a CI. MED-EL recommends that you take your processors off before entering the scanner or walking through the metal detector. Carry your CI user information card so that you can quickly inform security staff if they have questions about your device.
8. Be alert for the telecoil symbol. Look for this symbol wherever you go. You can find these at airports, travel terminals, and hotel desks. This sign means that the area is fitted with a hearing loop. This will make it easier for you to hear your conversation with the agent or clerk, or hear travel update announcements. I was in New York City recently and the cab I was riding in was looped with telecoil! This was very helpful as I was communicating with the cab driver through a glass partition as we drove through the crazy streets of New York.
7. Board early. Sometimes you may find yourself waiting for your plane in a noisy location, making it difficult to hear when your boarding group is called. Just ask if you can pre-board your plane along with those who need extra time or assistance. If you are like me, you don’t really like to call attention to yourself, but I’m not too proud to leverage my CI “status” when it’s helpful to my travel experience.
6. Alert hotels that you are a CI user. I inform the hotel front desk that I am a CI user and that I will need to be alerted in the event of an evacuation. As a part of the check-in process, some hotels ask if you have a disability which may require you to need assistance. I answer yes. Also, remember that many hotels have rooms that are equipped with technology and services to assist those who are hard of hearing. Visual fire alarms, vibrating alarm clocks, and external doorbells are examples of equipment that might be available at the hotel.
5. Check the doors are locked in your hotel! Hotel clerks have been known to make an error every now and again mistakenly issuing keys to the wrong rooms. Nobody wants to be walked in on unexpectedly and ESPECIALLY if you are a CI user and you’ve taken your “ears” off for whatever reason.
4. Leverage your technology to create a better travelling experience. Listen to your favorite tunes and watch your favorite shows just like everyone else when you’re in transit. Use your direct audio input cables—plug them into your FM battery sleeve and pop the headphone jack into your device. You will look like you’re using earbuds. Remember that you have two audio cable options—a 50/50 mix cable which is yellow, and a 90/10 mix cable which is red. You can control the amount of background noise by choosing the cable that works best for you.
3. Be prepared! Be sure to pack your drying kit and storing kit so that your processors are well cared for while traveling. Depending on where you are traveling, you want to be certain that your processors stay in good working condition and are protected from humidity and dampness. Be sure to pack plenty of power—batteries that is! Whether you are using disposable or rechargeable batteries, plan well and pack enough batteries to last you until you get home, or pack your charger if you are using rechargeable batteries. While it’s usually possible to find 675 power disposable batteries, it can be difficult to track them down in some countries.
2. Be prepared for water! Heading to the beach or pool? When water is a part of your travel plans, make sure to pack your WaterWear for your RONDO, SONNET or OPUS 2 audio processor. You can hear underwater at the pool or the beach with no impact to sound quality. My WaterWear is always included in my suitcase!
1. Be adventurous! Don’t let your hearing loss stop you from travelling. Depend on your CIs to help you manage your world, and start making those travel plans. There are a range of resources, including people and technology, to lend a helping hand when needed. Plan well, be prepared and hit the road!
Find out from 24-year-old CI recipient Samantha on what it’s like going on holidays with a CI!
Subscribe to the MED-EL Blog by entering your email below to get cochlear implant rehabilitation tips and tricks sent straight to you weekly!