I am packing for the Memorial Day weekend and listening to the KERA (radio) when I hear DFW Airport announced expansion plans to build a new Terminal F – to the third-busiest airport in the world. If it weren't for my new hearing aids, I would have missed the good news for many Dallas residents.
"3 million people expected to take to the skies this Memorial Day weekend."
– AAA Newsroom
One thing you want to remember whenever you travel is to make sure you take your hearing aids. Being caught without your hearing aids can put a damper on things. You never want to miss hearing your grandbaby giggling and laughing or your daughter and her cousin arguing in the kitchen over the last piece of Mimi's Rum Carrot Cake. How about the guys schooled by your granddaughter in the Media room over why the Denver Nuggets should win the NBA Championships? These are situations in life better heard than not.
Nowadays, there are so many hearing aid brands to choose from, everything from Over-the-Counter (OTC) that are FDA-regulated medical devices purchased without a hearing exam, prescription, or appointment with an audiologist to prescription hearing aids ordered by an audiologist who can help you prevent hearing loss by providing and fitting protective hearing devices and educating patients on the effects of noise on hearing - the prevention, identification, and management of hearing loss, tinnitus, and balance system dysfunction. The choice is yours, but I recommend visiting an audiologist. Prescription hearing aids may cost you more and take a little more of your time, but you'll have the confidence of knowing your hearing aids are an exact fit and the best technology for your specific type of hearing loss. One of the best things about my Starkey hearing aid charger is that it can last up to 36 hours on a single charge.
"Your hearing aids should be one of the first things on your packing list when it is time for a trip."
– Starkey Laboratories, Inc
When I travel, I bring my Starkey Rechargeable Hearing Aids with me. The airport does not require removing any hearing aids. However, according to TSA, additional screening, including a pat-down or inspection of a device, may be required if it alarms the walk-through metal detector or advanced imaging technology. Furthermore, I found out that the FAA exempts devices like hearing aids and pacemakers because they do not emit signals that might interfere with aircraft controls. Flying Fallacy — You do not have to turn off your hearing aids or their wireless features on a plane.
Five tips for travelers who wear hearing aids:
- Power is Paramount — Make sure you are traveling with the correct power source for your hearing aids! Having your charger and power cord packed — or bringing extra batteries — is important to keeping your aids usable your entire trip.
- Confidence in Communication — Don’t leave your hearing aids at home in an attempt to keep them safe. If you have a set plan in place for traveling with your hearing aids, then a loss is unlikely and you will be able to hear clearly throughout your travels
- Accessory Access — Bring accessories like Remote Microphones or a Table Mic. Having tools that can best help you communicate with the world around you will help your vacation be high in enjoyment and low in stress!
- Lodging Logistics — Establish a dedicated area within your home-away-from-home for your hearing aid supplies/accessories when you reach your destination. Do not leave them balled up in napkins or tissues and always put them in their case in the designated space.
- Keep it Clean — Don’t forget your cleaning tools (cloth, brush, wax guards, etc.); If the microphone is covered with earwax or dirt, then it can affect the quality of the sound that is output into your ear, and ultimately your travel experience.
"If you attend an aviation safety meeting for pilots, you will probably notice two things: the number of pilots with gray hair, and the number who use hearing aids."
– FAA Safety Briefing (2020)
By now, you should be thinking, "Oh great, then I will take my hearing aids on my trip." If it is your kids hearing aids, Dr. Arthur Lavin, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health says, “Family vacations are a gift parents give to their kids. As important as it is to share the world with typically developed children, it’s also important for special-needs children to have adventures and fun.”