The holidays are coming up, and you have a teenager with hearing loss. But don’t worry, there’s no need to let this get in the way of your family travel plans or break the bank on accommodations.
Here are some great tips for ensuring that your next holiday is as stress-free as possible for both you and your teen.
Give Your Child an Early Notice
Teenagers can be a handful, and it can be tricky when you add in the extra stress of traveling with a hearing impairment. The best way to combat this is to give your child as much notice as possible. This will allow them time to come to terms with what they’re dealing with and ask any questions they may have.
Telling your child earlier will help to reduce the chances of any last-minute surprises or stress associated with the trip.
Make the Airline Aware
The next step is to tell the airline that you’re traveling with a teenager who has hearing loss. They will then help ensure your child is comfortable throughout the trip and assist with any problems, such as announcements being too quiet for them to hear correctly.
If you do not take this step initially, it may become more difficult or problematic once on board, so make sure you mention it when booking your ticket. The earlier they know about their particular requirements, the better prepared they can be.
Ensure that everything possible is done before boarding—especially regarding seating arrangements and volume levels around them.
Some airlines require 48 hours’ notice before travel, but most will accommodate your needs upon request.
Visit an Audiologist
Before traveling with your teen, it is essential to get a diagnostic hearing evaluation from an audiologist. This process includes hearing, sound field audiometry, and speech reception threshold testing.
Visiting an audiologist before your trip will help you determine what accommodations your teen may need while traveling. It will also help you create a plan to best communicate with your child during the trip.
Some standard accommodations an audiologist may suggest include:
- Bringing along extra hearing aids or batteries
- Loaning out assistive listening devices (ALD) such as headsets, neck loops, and portable FM systems
- Requesting special seating arrangements on the airplane, such as bulkhead seats or seats near the exit row
- Booking rooms at hotels that have ADA accessible rooms
- Purchasing a remote microphone system for use in large venues like theaters and stadiums
Making these preparations before traveling can make the experience much smoother for you and your teen. In addition, having a backup plan in place can help you avoid the stress and frustration of trying to make arrangements on site.
Check Security Procedures
Different security procedures may be needed for those with hearing loss. Talk to your child about what they need to do to go through security, such as taking out hearing aids or cochlear implants. Explain that they may need to show their boarding pass and passport more than once and possibly have a pat-down.
Make sure that the security staff is aware of your child’s needs and will let them know if there are any special restrictions they need to follow.
If you have booked a private tour, speak with the guide before traveling so that they can ensure all information is given effectively using visual aids or handouts. Make sure they also check in at regular intervals throughout the day to see how everyone is doing and whether anything has changed regarding access required by your teen/child.
Talk About Different Languages
One of the things that you will want to do when traveling with your hard-of-hearing teenager is talk about different languages. Many airports now have translations for various languages, but it is always best to be prepared. You can pick up a translation book at most bookstores or even download an app onto your phone. This will come in handy at the airport and during your travels. If you are traveling to a foreign country, make sure to brush up on the basics so that you can help your child get around.
Loan Kits and Spares
Another thing that you may want to consider bringing with you when traveling with a deaf or hard of hearing teenager is a loan kit or some spares. Most airports now have assistive technology, such as hearing loops and T-coils, but they may not be available in every country. Therefore, it is good to have some backup equipment if you need it. Again, you can either bring your gear or borrow it from the airport if required.
Traveling with a hard-of-hearing teenager can seem daunting, but with a bit of preparation, it can be a smooth and enjoyable experience for all. By following the tips in this post, you will have everything you need to make your trip go as smoothly as possible.