Dennis Hampton, Ph.D
280 Mamaroneck Ave.
White Plains, New York 10605
(914) 761-4455
Travel Tips: Keeping Stress to a Minimum

Travel can be a stressful experience for anyone. For someone with a hearing loss, the difficulties of making reservations, hearing airplane or train boarding announcements, and using regular telephones can make travel especially stressful. We hope these suggestions make traveling more enjoyable for you.

Making reservations
Try to make advance reservations whenever possible. When making reservations by phone, use an amplified telephone if at all possible. Let the reservation agent know that you have a hearing loss. Repeat the information so the agent can confirm your arrangements. And ask for written confirmation to be mailed or faxed to you.

If the telephone is too difficult, you can make your travel arrangements in person with a travel agent. Another strategy is to make your own travel arrangements though the internet. If you're comfortable using a computer and have the time, you can shop for hotel and airline information, make reservations while on-line and print out your itinerary.

When traveling
Don't panic if you find it nearly impossible to understand the announcements at bus, train or airline terminals. Even people with excellent hearing often find it difficult to understand public announcements in these settings. (Wouldn't it be nice if people who made public announcements had training in public speaking so that we could actually understand them?)

Check the posted information for gate and departure times. Airports, bus and train terminals usually have displays of route numbers, destinations and gate numbers throughout the terminal. Some airlines are using the new large video screens right at each gate, which makes it easier to understand boarding instructions.

Let the agent at the boarding gate know that you have a hearing loss. After boarding, confirm with an attendant that you're on the correct flight or train.

Public telephones
More telephones with built-in amplifiers are available today in places like train terminals and airports. Still, it's probably a good idea to carry a portable amplifier so you can use any telephone. Most public telephones are also hearing aid-compatible if you have a telephone switch on your hearing aids.

Accommodations
With the passage of the American with Disabilities Act, more hotels provide assistance to people with hearing loss. This assistance may include in-room amplified telephones and alerting devices for smoke and fire alarms. Hotel televisions may have built-in captioning that can be activated. However, you may want to carry your own assistive devices since you'll be more familiar with them.

Finally, be sure to let the front desk receptionist know that you have a hearing loss in case of emergency.

Your hearing aids
Be sure to carry plenty of batteries; the batteries won't go bad if kept in their original container and it will save you the trouble of shopping for batteries while traveling. Bring along a dri-aid kit or another durable container to protect your hearing aids. Finally, consider carrying a spare hearing aid during your trip. You'll have a back-up in case of loss or malfunction, plus carrying a spare will relieve you of the anxious worry, "What will I do if one of my aids stops working?"

We hope these tips make traveling more enjoyable and bon voyage!