A HoH’s Trip List: Hearing Essentials

The Hearing Husband and I seem to get antsy if we’re in one place for too long.  Maybe we just get bored with too much togetherness and decide we need to ‘see the family’, hit the open road and climb a few hills.

This means we’re frequently packing and unpacking and packing again. You’d think we’d have nailed the list of things to go in the suitcase. You also might correctly guess that on each and every trip something ‘important’ gets left behind. Often it’s just “oh shoot, I forgot to bring my gray running shoes.”  No real panic.

But if you’re a HoH like me – someone with hearing loss – and the left-behind item is essential to communication, that’s cause to break out in a sweat, yell OMG, and start tearing through every bag in the hope that you’ve simply put it in the wrong place.

At Christmas time, while visiting family in California, I discovered I didn’t have the right wax guards for one of my hearing aids. This might not set your heart thumping, but if I try to use a wax guard not designed for my hearing aid, it might fall out in my ear, adhere to my ear drum and require professional help getting it out. Been there, done that, never again thank you. Or, I could just go without the wax guard for a while and hope that not too much ka-ka works its way into my hearing aid and cause inner damage. Also been there, done that, no way thanks.

I phoned several clinics in the San Jose vicinity and finally found one a few miles away that carried my brand. I was almost crying with gratitude and relief as I picked them up – always a bit embarrassing in front of strangers.

So now, as we prepare to head off in our trusty fifth wheel, Flag, I’ve got a hearing travel checklist that, before we leave, will be triple-checked. You know, like your passport – you never stop fingering it until you’ve made it through customs without being arrested.

This is what I’m taking: 

An Artistic Display of Some of the Stuff
  • Hearing Aids (2): I always take a backup hearing aid when I travel. Actually, I wear each of these hearing aids for different reasons, so both are essential.
  • Cochlear Implant:

Sound processor

Extra hair clip

Remote Assistant

Phone clip

MiniMic2 (an all-purpose must have – for example, the Hearing Husband can talk into this while we’re hiking and I don’t have crane my neck to read his lips, thus perhaps falling off the trail cliff.)

Connector cable (for iPhone and iPad and computer)

Charger for c/, d/ and e/. Very important – things simply don’t work if they’re not charged. No amount of yelling will change this.

Other bits of cord that I can never figure out what they do, but don’t want to leave them behind  just in case.

  • Batteries (many, many packages – I’ll be away for 3 months)
    • Size 312 for one hearing aid
    • Size 13 for the other
    • Size 675 for the Sound Processor
  • Smartphone: Connects me to everything! Along with the CI’s remote assistant, an app allows me to use the MiniMic to listen to my phone and iPad.
  • Neckloop that also lets me to listen via telecoil on both my hearing aid and cochlear implant.
  • Information booklets for my cochlear implant. The internet has all the info I  need, but you just feel better having the paper copy, you know? Power outages.
  • Secret storage place for websites, passwords, technology serial numbers, and other important stuff if I need to contact any of the manufacturers.
  • Cleaning supplies for all hearing aids and sound processors.
  • Drying aids: one electric one for the cochlear implant and a more portable, non-electric one perfect for hearing aids.

And so, the HoH hits the road again. This time, well-armed with all the necessary technology and doo-dads, which I can keep charged in Flag, I plan on having a dazzling and connected few weeks traveling the American western wilderness. Unless there’s that one thing that I forgot….

 

About Gael Hannan

Gael Hannan is a sought-after speaker for her humorous and insightful performances about hearing loss. Unheard Voices and EarRage! are ground-breaking solo shows that illuminate the profound impact of hearing loss on a person’s life and relationships, and which Gael has presented to appreciative audiences around Canada, the United States and New Zealand. A DVD/video version of Unheard Voices is now available. She has received awards for her work, including the Consumer Advocacy Award from the Canadian Association of Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists. Gael lives with her husband and son in Toronto.

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Larry Kavanaugh

Thanks, Gael. I do a presentation on traveling with hearing loss, that I developed a part of my N-CHATT program. It’s called “Traveling? Better Bring Your HAT.” In it, I share what works for me and how it helps in various situations. I also share the fact that I keep a travel case filled with all those gadgets and connectors and chargers. I call it my HAT box, and I don’t leave home without it. Thanks for the list of traveller’s paraphernalia. I’m going to have to compare it with my list to make sure I’m not forgetting anything.

Joe Dashiell

It’s guaranteed I always am without something in an emergency. Two CI require a lot of stuf to pack. Heaven forbid I’ll have no electricity to recharge batteries so I’ll need disposable ones and all the adapters too!
!!!!

Ian Kinross

Great checklist and insights Gael. Enjoy your trip. I can mail you a few 312s if you get stuck. (: