Traveling with hearing aids can be a taxing business. It’s easier to deal with breakdowns at repairs at home within a familiar infrastructure. A potential onslaught of moisture, theft, and unexpected breakdowns await. Instead I just try to prevent and avoid disaster. I depend on my hearing aids while traveling even more than I do at home- unfamiliar accents and languages drain all the listening power I have. Here are my tricks that i discovered over time:
1. I learn how to say “I didn’t hear you, could you repeat that” in the foreign language of the country I am visiting. It won’t serve you well to just learn “what?” – this often leads to more confusion- the other person will think that you don’t understand what they are saying (cognitively), not that you just didn’t hear them. They could also think you are saying “what?!” as in a slangy “you don’t say?!”, and you’ll get no response. This is an important distinction.
2. Bring an extra mold (I just bring an old one) and new tubes to attach the hearing aid to the mold. Molds can break or crack – especially when the temperature or pressure is changing rapidly. I also bring a small plug that attaches to the mold and transforms the mold into an earplug for sleeping in noisy conditions or, in my case, dancing on very loud club floor.
3. A min-dri aid which extracts the moisture out my aids at the end of the night. I find my hearing aids will temporarily quit on me at times while moving through humid climates. If this happens I pray and then put them in the dri-aid box and they usually work fine the next morning. A major theme: avoid moisture.
4. Extra batteries: lots of them. I prefer the best ones: Rayovac Proline. Keep in a relatively air tight pouch. See below.
5. A lock so that I can keep the thieves away at times when I need to leave my hearing aids and go to a place I can’t wear them- like the ocean.
6. If possible, I bring one of my old hearing aids as a backup, fully repaired and brought up to date at a place like Hearing Haven. Hearing Haven can bring an older hearing aid up to date for a solid price.
7. Pay a few hundred dollars to have my hearing aids insured for loss or damage from Esco. I would rather pay a few hundred than three thousand dollars to replace a broken, lost or stolen hearing aid.
8. On a long trip? I contact my audiologist and let them know I will send them a package with my hearing aid if it needs repair. Ask them what they will need besides the hearing aids. I come prepared with an envelope, esco insurance info, bubble wrap for protection, addresses, and stamp.
9. A cleaning brush and wax remover. You shouldn’t have to pay for these.
10. Communication is nearly impossible? Which it certainly can be sometimes for anybody on a trip- Take along this helpful picture book and point to what you want.