Are you planning to travel this holiday season? We know that getting yourself or your family ready for a trip, particularly with a child with hearing loss, can be time consuming and challenging given everything that needs to be accomplished prior to departure.
We have created a travel list to help so you won’t forget important essentials that will be needed while you are away from home. Use the list below to help prepare and plan for your trip.
Travel tips for all:
- Collect important contact information in one place: Don’t forget to take with you all of the important phone numbers, email addresses and website information for your audiologist, speech therapist and other hearing specialists. Tip: Use an index card to write down this important information or store the information on your smartphone and/or tablet. If old enough, show your child where you keep this information just in case you are not around and your child needs to access it.
- Pack extra equipment and hearing accessories: Don’t forget to pack extra batteries, cables and other spare equipment if you or your child uses hearing technology. When it comes to your hearing, it is always best to over pack and have extra working equipment on hand.
- Transportation security at airports and train stations: Navigating the security checkpoints at busy airports and train stations can be intimidating. To start, inform security personnel that you or your child has a hearing loss and wears a hearing device. It is not necessary to remove external hearing devices at security checkpoints. In fact, it is best to wear the hearing device while going through security. According to the Transportation Security Administration, you are not required to remove any hearing aids or sound processors during security screening.
Travel tips specific for kids:
- Use travel time to work on listening and language development: Whether you are traveling by airplane, train or car, it is great to have a few “listening” games for your child to play while they are en route to their destination. For example, in the car you can pack your child’s favorite music and sing along, or play the “alphabet game” while driving. If you are flying, consider bringing a tablet or smartphone for your child to play many specific listening and language developments apps available for children with hearing loss, a book to read aloud or a workbook of activities. For more listening resources, visit The Communication Corner.
- Calendar countdown: Particularly helpful for a child with hearing loss is to prepare them for a change in their routine by creating a calendar to count down the days before your family leaves for the adventure. Post the calendar on the refrigerator or wall where you can easily access and discuss it each night with your child. Talk about the items needed to pack, what is going to happen during the trip, who your family will see, how you will get there and why you are all going on this trip together. Children tend to be creatures of habit, and children with hearing loss are often accustomed to a routine. A change in that routine could be difficult for them, so helping your child adjust prior to your trip will make it much more fun and memorable for all!
As your child with hearing loss gets older, try letting them manage travel responsibilities themselves to teach them how to be independent and take ownership of their hearing.
Safe travels and happy holidays!