Summer’s almost here for the Northern Hemisphere! If you’re getting geared up to travel—and have a cochlear implant—these tips will help you prepare for stress-free hearing when you’re traveling.
When You’re Packing
- As you’re packing, make sure that everything important is kept as close to you as is possible. Batteries, cables, chargers, drying systems, accessories, back-up processors: everything. By knowing that these are in your purse or hand luggage, you won’t lose access to your hearing if you lose your luggage. Preparing for the worst helps, even if the worst never comes.
- If you’re traveling internationally, don’t forget to bring along the appropriate power converters—or bring enough disposable batteries to last for your trip, in case you can’t find any at your destination.
- Have contact information for your MED-EL representative, as well as the representative of wherever you’re vacationing to.
- Print out a copy of your audio processor’s map, or bring a digital version along on a USB stick. This way, if anything unexpected happens, your audiologist has information which they can refer to and something from which they can start.
As You’re Traveling
These tips are all helpful if you’re traveling by plane, or anywhere else where you need to go through security checks.
- When you’re at the airport and checking in, let the ticketing agent know that you have a hearing loss and use a hearing implant or hearing aid. Many people don’t know about cochlear implants, so you can’t assume that they’ll be able to guess. By telling them, it’s possible for them to include this information on your traveler’s profile.
- Make sure to keep your cochlear implant identification card in your wallet.
- You can walk through the metal detector with one, or even two, audio processors. Make sure to let the security staff know that you have cochlear implants, however, because they might set off the detector. And if you choose to remove the audio processors, make sure to inform the staff that you won’t be able to hear when you’re not wearing them.
- When it’s time for your luggage to go through the X-ray, don’t put your audio processor directly on the conveyor belt or plastic bins. This might generate static electricity. Instead, either carry them with you—letting the security staff know—or place them in a safe static-free container like a fabric bag.
- If you are traveling alone, let your flight attendant know that you have a hearing loss. That way, if there is an emergency, they will know you might not hear everything on the overhead speakers. (It can be difficult for even people with normal hearing to understand everything spoken over the inflight speaker systems, so it’s best to let the flight attendant know about your hearing loss. This way, they can directly get emergency information to you.)
- You can wear your cochlear implants during the entire duration of the flight. You do not need to turn off your audio processors during take-off or landing. Cochlear implants, and hearing aids in general, don’t interfere with navigational systems.
On Your Holiday
Here are a few tips that can help you enjoy your destination, once you’re there.
- As you’re making reservations for a hotel, condo, cabin, or wherever you’re going, see if there’s an option for “Accessible” rooms. These are rooms specifically designed for people with hearing loss, poor eyesight, or other disabilities, because they include useful features such as visual alarms, specialized telephones, or doorbells that flash the room’s lights.
- When you’re checking in, let the front desk know that you have a hearing loss—and how you would like to be contacted in case of an emergency. Depending on where you are, your hotel might offer to contact you by text message, phone call, or personal visit.
- Some hotels do not legally have permission to enter your room during your stay. Again, depending on where you are staying, you may want to give them permission to enter your room in case of an emergency.
- Alternatively, if you’re traveling with others, consider sharing a room key with them. This way they could come to you, should anything unexpected come up.
- If you have a favorite alarm clock, bring it along. Different hotels have different alarms, so it might be nicer to have one with which you’re familiar.
- If you have a magnetic key card to get into your room, keep it away from your audio processor. Just like with credit cards, your audio processor’s coil magnet may demagnetize the key.
And most importantly: have fun! With these tips, we hope that you’ll be set for a holiday full of hearing everything you want to—and nothing you don’t.
Whether you’re on holiday or at home, tips & tricks from the MED-EL blog can help you to hear your best. Subscribe today and get updates twice a week!
This post was written with help from Taylor Sands, a speech-language pathologist at MED-EL.