As international travel slowly reopens, many people with new hearing aids are wondering how best to manage them while they travel. Should you remove your hearing aids when flying long-distance? How should you store them? Will you be able to charge your rechargeable hearing aids. Here are seven tips and tricks when travelling with hearing aids.
1. Wear them at the airport
For many people, travelling can be stressful. Even if you know the airport well, new announcements or instructions could come at any point. It’s recommended that you keep your hearing aids in your ears and switched on until you have safely boarded the plane. Your hearing aids shouldn’t set off any of the metal detectors or other scanners, but you can always tell the security officers that you have them on if there’s an issue. Remember to put all assistive devices through the scanners rather than keeping them on.
2. Keep a secure container in your hand luggage
Especially when travelling long-distance, you might choose to remove your hearing aids for some or all of the time that you are travelling. Remember to pack a secure carry case for your hearing aids and keep it in your hand luggage, so your hearing aids don’t end up loose in your pocket or the pocket behind the seat in front of you- this is a recipe for lost hearing aids. If you remove them, switch them off and store them safely in their case and back in your bag so you can’t leave them behind by mistake.
3. Carry batteries and spares with you
Hearing aids batteries are pretty universal, but in a foreign country, especially if they speak a foreign language to you, it might be tricky or stressful to find the right ones. We recommend packing enough batteries for your whole trip, as well as any stock or spare items you may need. Don’t forget your wax guards, and consider taking a spare set of tube and dome for each hearing aid, just in case. Keep these in your hand luggage- if your suitcase gets lost, the last thing you want to worry about is your hearing aids!
4. Consider a power bank or battery pack
Most rechargeable hearing aids need to be charged every night. So, what do you do if you have a long, multi-flight trip, or an overnight flight? Some hearing aid chargers have a built-in or add-on power bank, which allows you to charge your hearing aids in their charger without access to electricity for up to three days. Others can get a good charge from a decent power bank in a pinch, buying you another day of hearing even if you can’t plug in. Many can also be charged from a laptop using the USB charger. Speak to your audiologist about the options for your hearing aids, especially if long-distance travel is a regular part of your life.
5. Remember your plug converter!
If you’re travelling overseas to a place that uses different plugs, don’t forget to take a converter so you can charge your hearing aids at night! Most hearing aids sold in South Africa are fitted with two-prong standard type C plug, which can be used in most parts of Europe. But be careful if you’re going elsewhere, and always double-check before you leave home to ensure you have the right adaptor.
6. Airplane mode?
With all the modern wireless capabilities of hearing aids, should we worry about putting them on ‘airplane mode’, as we do with our other devices? Legally, it is not required, although some hearing aids do have an airplane mode option. Certain medical devices such as pacemakers and hearing aids are exempt from needing to deactivate their wireless settings, as the signal emitted is not considered strong enough to interfere with any functioning of the plane.
7. Travelling with hearing aids on or off?
We regularly get asked whether you should wear your hearing aids on the plane. It’s totally up to you. While we recommend wearing them while boarding and disembarking, to make the process easier and less stressful, you do not have to keep them on while flying. Many people choose to keep wearing their hearing aids in the air so that they can have comfortable conversations with the people they are travelling with and hear the aeroplane staff more clearly, others choose to remove them so that they can rest or use headphones to listen to the in-flight entertainment system. This is completely personal preference- just remember to store them safely while you aren’t wearing them!
Hearing aids needn’t be a cause of extra stress while you’re travelling- in fact, they can reduce your stress and allow you to enjoy your trip even more, be it for holiday or work. Take note of these few tips, and travelling with hearing aids should be easy. If you’d like more information about hearing aids and travelling with them, contact us, or comment below.