Plan ahead to handle hearing-loss issues when traveling
Q. I've been losing some hearing the last few years. I have to travel far from home, and I was wondering if you had any suggestions for handling my hearing problems on the road.
About one in three Americans over 60 suffers from loss of hearing, which can range from the inability to hear certain voices to deafness. Traveling poses special problems for the hearing-impaired.
OK, here are some travel tips:
• Make travel arrangements in advance. Request written confirmation.
• Consider using a travel agent who can make reservations with airlines, hotels, and tourist attractions. If possible, meet with a travel agent in person to ensure accurate communication.
• You can use your computer to make reservations. Be sure to print copies of important information such as confirmation numbers, reservations and maps.
• Arrive early for every event on your schedule so you have time to rectify possible problems caused by miscommunication.
• If you are severely hearing-impaired, tell ground personnel, flight attendants, train conductors and bus drivers that you would like them to give you important information face-to-face.
• There are small portable visual alert systems available that flash a light when the telephone rings, an alarm clock goes off, or a fire alarm sounds. These can be installed easily in hotel rooms. Request a room that is equipped for an individual with hearing loss. These communication features are frequently provided free of charge to hotel guests.
• Always carry an under-the-pillow vibrating alarm clock when you travel.
• FM listening systems can help the hearing-impaired traveler listen to lectures and tours by having a speaker use a transmitter microphone to broadcast over airwaves to a receiver.
• Portable infrared systems can be used with hotel televisions and radios. These transmit sound via invisible infrared light to a listener’s receiver.
• If you wear a hearing aid, be sure to pack extra batteries and tubing.