Holidaying if you have hearing problems


Holidays are a period of travel, relaxation, recreation and cheerfulness. They are a time for family, friends and acquaintances to be together and share new experiences. Travelling at home and abroad or staying in a strange place can be stressful even when you have good hearing: it becomes challenging when you have a hearing loss.

Here are a few glitches that can happen:

  • Mishearing announcements on busy train stations and in airports
  • Asking directions from strangers
  • Missing vital information announced by the tour guide
  • Trying to lipread a foreign language - even when you know the language well!
  • Sitting in crowded restaurants and attempting to enjoy conversation
  • Taking your hearing aids or cochlear implants out to swim and realising that you cannot hear when the swimming pool attendant tells you to leave the water
  • Going on an expensive guided tour and not understanding a word

 However, a little forethought can make things easier.

Be prepared! 


  • Make your bookings online, if possible, as all confirmation will be in writing
  • Ask for everything to be confirmed in writing – price, dates, bookings and travel arrangements 
  • Make sure you know your travel arrangements clearly in advance: timetable, changes of train or plane, locations of airports, stations and coach pick-up points
  • Find out if the hotel has any provision for hard of hearing and deaf people before you book with them: e.g. visible or tactile smoke alarm, subtitled television
  • Take any equipment you need with you e.g. vibrating alarm clock, door beacon, portable telephone amplifier, television listening device and smoke alarm. Take an adapter with you if necessary
  • Have your hearing aids/cochlear implant checked by the audiology department before you leave on holiday
  • Pack spare hearing aid batteries
  • Carry a simple hearing aid repair kit: puffer, tubing, threader, cleaner, wet wipes (the RNID sell excellent repair kits for hearing aids.  See their website: www.rnid.org.uk or get a copy of their Solutions catalogue by post – your local audiology department may stock copies of the catalogue)

Check that you will be able to send text messages from your mobile telephone from abroad

More tips


  • Learn the phrase 'I am deaf' in the language of the country you are visiting or have it written on a card
  • Translate a few communication tactics into the language of the country you are visiting and have them written on a card
  • Take maps – it is difficult to hear people’s instructions but if you have a map they can show you the way
  • Invest in a good guide book – that way you will not have to rely on other people telling you things
  • Self-catering can provide you with privacy and less background noise for meal times
  • Restaurants are often quieter if you go for a very early, or a very late, lunch
  • Make sure any travelling companion knows the extent of your deafness and give them a few deaf awareness instructions beforehand
  • Remind hotel staff that you will not: a. hear anyone knock on your room door; b. use the telephone; c. hear the smoke alarm – make alternative arrangements with the staff
  • Don’t be afraid to ask professionals, such as tour guides, for help if you need it
  • Wear a Lipreader please speak clearly or Hard of Hearing badge from Hearing Link
  • Your travelling companions are on holiday too – do not use them as 'interpreters' unless really necessary!  Try to be as independent as possible. 

To sum up: be prepared; tell people that you have a hearing loss in advance and be clear about what you need. Have a good time!

Hearing Link Registered Charity Number 264809 Registered Charity Number in Scotland SC037688