Most people who are hearing impaired can lead a relatively normal life, and travel without too many problems. However, Becker ENT warns that there are some occasions when travel does become difficult for those with hearing problems. This is especially true for those who develop hearing issues later in life, because they may not be as confident lipreading or reading sign language as someone who has been deaf or hard of hearing since birth.
A lot of the world’s infrastructure is not set up to help those who are hearing impaired. If you wear a hearing aid or have a cochlear implant, then you may be OK during your day to day life, but airports and train stations are hard for even those with fairly good hearing. As a hearing impaired person you might find hearing announcements to be very difficult, and dealing with staff and counters to be a frustrating experience.
You can offset a lot of this difficulty by planning your journey in advance. Buy tickets online and pick them up from a machine. Plan your journey so you know the times that your train / plane will be due, and rely on boards rather than trying to hear announcements. Look for advice desks where there is a hearing loop enabled, and take advantage of those rather than using other desks where such facilities are not available.
Usually, when you book tickets online you will have the opportunity to inform the airline, train or cruise company of any assistance that you might need on your journey. You will also be able to request more time to make connections. Take advantage of these options to ensure that you get all of the time and help that you need.
If you are attending something like a conference or a training course, be sure to inform the organizers if you feel that you might need someone to sign for you, or if you need to be able to sit at the front in order to clearly understand the speaker. Most organizations are able to offer some help to people with hearing difficulties, so that they can take full advantage of their services.
For the most part, you should have no difficulty traveling as a hearing impaired person, even in a foreign country. Take the same precautions as someone with full hearing – don’t carry large amounts of cash, build in plenty of time to make connections, and always have a back up plan.