The joys of traveling and discovering new places should be accessible for everyone, yet hearing-impaired or deaf people can have frustrating or exhausting experiences when they try to plan a trip at vacation spots that aren’t hearing-loss-friendly.
Fortunately, there are different ways to ensure a safe and fun event, and it all starts with a series of solutions that will make communication with others an easier task. Here we present you with practical travel solutions for people who can’t hear that well.
Carry Your Essentials Everywhere
Every traveler knows how useful it is to have a checklist on hand while they pack their luggage to make sure that they don’t miss anything. For the deaf or hard of hearing, it’s vital to create a personalized checklist listing your devices, batteries, chargers, cleaning equipment, and instruction manuals that you may need during your trip. Not only will you reduce the chances of forgetting something at home or at the hotel when you’re leaving, but by relying on a written checklist, you won’t feel pressured to remember everything. After all, vacations are about reducing those stress levels and clearing your mind of any worries. If you’re traveling with someone else, they can also help you make sure that you don’t miss anything when you’re packing your luggage.
When you decide to travel by air, it is recommended that you notify the airline about your situation, so that they’re able to accommodate your needs. You may be able to pre-board the plane or access other services like receiving one-on-one lectures about emergency procedures. Perhaps air stewardesses can write things down to communicate with you. In any case, it’s safe to say that you should always bring all your hearing equipment in your carry-on bag, in case your checked baggage gets lost.
Plan Ahead With Your Hotel
Another way you can guarantee a comfortable trip is to research a hotel’s special accommodations before booking and let them know about your condition before arriving. Some hotels have ADA kits consisting of visual signal alerts for the doors and light alarm clocks in case you don’t bring one yourself. Furthermore, you should ask for a hearing impaired phone available in your room upon your arrival should you need to contact the front desk or room service. If you’re staying by yourself in the hotel room, let the hotel staff know that it’s okay to enter your room in case of emergency and keep the doors unlocked. However, if you’re traveling with more people, everyone should have at least one room key available and stay in contact with you via text whenever they’re leaving the hotel or coming to meet you.
Use Your Phone to Move Around
Any person with a hearing disability knows how important it is to carry a piece of paper and a pen around to communicate with others, without having to rely on sign language. However, your smartphone can also be your best ally to move around and talk to people without worrying about misinterpretations or confusion. Allowing a person to type out what they need on a smartphone can make communication much easier, rather than trying to signal what they want. Note that you should be mindful of the cultural differences if you’re in another country. For instance, some hand gestures can come off as extremely rude to locals and it may be the cause of more delays and misunderstandings, especially if you’re trying to talk to local authorities.
You can also rely on downloadable maps to follow directions and get to your destination; these will list all the necessary train or bus schedules you need. Doing some prior research about your destination can also help you navigate it once you arrive. Using public transport can be a tricky endeavor for the deaf and hard of hearing, especially if you choose a non-English speaking country. If possible, sit close to the driver and make sure that they let you know when you need to get off the bus. Most of the time you’ll be relying on visual directions, so if they’re in another language, don’t be afraid of stopping someone and asking them for help to understand what rules or regulations are shown in signs or posters.
Traveling as a deaf or hard of hearing person doesn’t need to be a daunting task. You can choose countries that have implemented regulations and laws to make their tourist attractions accessible for everyone. If you’re traveling in a group, there are different solutions to ensure that the experience is pleasant for everyone involved. Start researching your next destination and don’t forget to look for a travel insurance plan that fits your particular needs.