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.
Read Margaret's blog about travelling to Thailand.
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.
A profoundly deaf college lecturer became increasingly anxious about travelling on business because he dreaded being late for a presentation due to missing a train or a plane. Before his hearing loss he had relied on announcements and overhearing other people’s conversation for information about what was happening. He also found that he was also unable to hear on his mobile to let those who were expecting him know when he was delayed.
After a discussion with a hearing therapist he realised that he could rely on visual information, loop systems at the ticket offices and the help of staff provided to help disabled passengers. He could let his colleagues know what was happening by sending text messages by mobile instead.
Wish you were here!
Volunteer Ian Hylands takes a cruise on luxury ship Splendida
Hearing Link member and volunteer, Ian Hylands, is profoundly deafened and wears two digital hearing aids. This doesn’t prevent him from taking himself off on holiday, usually as a single traveller. His latest overseas trip was on cruise ship - here’s what happened.
I booked my holiday at the end of November 2011 and, as always, was careful to make it known that I was hearing impaired. There was no problem, the booking and payment were taken without question … until the sinking of the Costa cruise ship.
Soon after it happened, the company I was with (MSC), decided they needed a few more details about me. They asked questions about whether I was capable of traveling on my own and how would I cope in an emergency.
Much as I dislike form filling, I did as best I could and advised them of the safety and support equipment I’d like them to provide in my cabin. I didn’t hold out much hope as I wasn't really sure what the Italian attitude was towards hearing impairment.
Happily, MSC must have decided that I was just the sort of passenger they wanted because the tickets came and off I flew to Genoa, where I joined a very nice ship - MSC Splendida.
As expected, I arrived in my cabin to find that no equipment was supplied. I decided to press the issue so I headed along to reception where I was directed on to a disabilities desk – unstaffed! I thought I might simply have to make the best of things, however, later that evening a note was passed to me advising of an English-speaking hospitality helpdesk that would run for an hour the next morning.
Full of hope, I attended – but, no, although the lady could understand me, she had no idea what I was talking about! Equipment had been requested? Really?
A day or so went by, until out of the blue a couple of helpful Polish chaps knocked on my door, their arms full of equipment. They had an alarm clock with an under-pillow vibration pad and flashing light, a keyboard which attached to the cabin phone and went to dedicated number at reception, and a control for the steward to remotely activate the alarm clock.
I was most impressed. It was the best set of equipment I’d ever been supplied with on holiday. What a difference it made – I had an emergency phone should I need it, and even better, I could order breakfast in my cabin, and thanks to the steward’s remote control for the alarm clock, knew when it arrived!
Persistence can pay off. It’s definitely worth a try!
Hearing Link is continuing to seek a suitable partner to enable us to resume our service offering ‘holidays with communications support’. Keep checking this website for news.