It’s no secret that flying can be challenging for everyone. But flying poses specific challenges for people flying with a hearing impairment or loss. Let’s look at some tips for the hearing impaired, including what the airlines do to help make your trip more manageable.Table of ContentsItems to Pack for the Hearing ImpairedThings to Do Before You DepartThings to Do at the AirportWhat to Know About the In-Flight ExperienceWhat Each Airline Does for the Hearing ImpairedWhat are Your Rights as a Traveler with a Hearing Impairment1. Items to Pack for the Hearing ImpairedEspecially when traveling internationally, you want to have everything you might need in a pinch handy. You do not need the extra stress of trying to track down medical supplies in unfamiliar surroundings. Set aside the following items to make sure you’re properly prepared for your trip:Hearing aid storage caseSmall hearing aid dehumidifierAdapter for your chargerExtra batteries for your chargerWe recommend you pack extra batteries and chargers in both sets of bags (your carry-on and checked bags, in case bags go missing. If you have an older hearing aid device, and have plans for a more extended trip, you might want to bring that device as a backup.2. Things to Do Before You DepartVisit your doctorIt might be a good idea to check in with your hearing healthcare professional, especially if you’re making an international trip or plan to be gone for a while. You can make sure your devices are in tip top shape, and will offer their best performance.Book a hotel room with hearing accessible featuresThe United States does require that hotels set aside hearing accessible rooms for the hearing impaired. These rooms typically include a typing/text telephone (TTY phone); sensors to alert you if someone is knocking, calling or there is an emergency situation; and a television with closed captioning capabilities.If the hotel you plan to stay in the U.S. does not have availability on your travel days, it may be better for you to choose another hotel. If you’re traveling outside the U.S., make sure to check which hotels offer this service (regulation around these sorts of services vary wildly by country).3. Things to Do at the AirportUse the check-in kioskTechnological advancements at the airport can really help you be more efficient. If you utilize the kiosk option for check-in, you can eliminate communication struggles with airline staff.Download the airline and airport appsYou’ll not stress about hearing gate change announcements or important flight updates if you have the app in hand.If available, make use of Airport Hearing LoopsSome airports provide hearing loop systems (audio induction loops). This system can help people with hearing aids and cochlear implants to hear more clearly in places with lots of background noise. The system provides a wireless magnetic signal that is received directly by your hearing device. To connect to the system, you’ll need to set your hearing aids or implant to the “T” (Telecoil) setting.Keep your hearing aids in when going through securityThe TSA agents should know not to even ask you to remove your hearing aids. There is some evidence that some hearing aids can interfere with the signal that some airport scanners emit. For that reason, we do recommend turning down the volume on your hearing aid before going through.It’s also a good idea to let security officers know that you do have a hearing impairment. If your hearing aid does require extra screening, you’ll be wanded in a separate screening procedure. This will not harm your hearing aid, though it will beep when wanded.You can also ask to bypass the scanner and have a more hands-on security screening if you have a cochlear implant.If you do decide to take your hearing aids out when going through security, do not place them on the screening belt. Hearing aids should be inspected by hand.4. What to Know About the the In-flight ExperienceKeep your hearing aids on during your flightHearing aids do not interfere with the airplane’s communication systems and should remain operational throughout your flight. This will help keep you in the loop with any important in-flight announcements that you might need during your time on the plane.Introduce yourself to the flight attendantHearing impairment is a somewhat “invisible” disability, so as an extra precaution, it’s a good idea to self-identify on a flight. The flight attendant’s number one priority is keeping travelers safe. If you let someone know of your status, they’ll make sure you get reinforcements on any important announcements.5. Airline Policies for the Hearing ImpairedAlaska AirlinesAsks that hearing impaired or deaf passengers self-identify in the airport and on the airplane so the best communications can be provided.Allegiant AirlinesSpecific accommodations for hearing impaired not provided on the Allegiant site.American AirlinesEarly boardingIndividual updates on important flight news and safety instructionsOnboard safety videos with subtitlesSpecial considerations for seatingDelta Air LinesEarly boardingPersonalized assistance with check-in, boarding, deplaning, and connecting to another flightSeats at the front of the plane for customers with a service animalAdjoining seat for assistive companions, such as interpretersFrontier AirlinesThe Frontier Airlines website offers the following statement regarding the hearing impaired:“Because it is sometimes difficult for our employees to know if you are unable to hear, identify yourself to one of our customer service representatives at the ticket counter and departure gate. Also identify yourself to our flight crew while onboard, so we can be sure to establish an acceptable means of communication to provide you with important flight information. If you need assistance at the airport, during boarding, or onboard the aircraft, let us know.”Hawaiian AirlinesThe Hawaiian Airlines website offers the following statement regarding the hearing impaired:“Guests with hearing and speech difficulties may dial 711 for relay services (available via phone and TTY).”JetBlue AirwaysEarly boardingPersonalized assistance with check-in, boarding, deplaning, and connecting to another flightSpecial seats for customers with a service animal and adjoining seat for assistive companions, such as interpretersSouthwest AirlinesEarly boardingPersonalized assistance with check-in, boarding, deplaning, and connecting to another flightThe option to purchase an additional seat If you need more than one to accommodate a disabilitySpirit AirlinesEarly boardingA free of charge, “Meet and Assist” service for more personalized assistance with check-in, boarding, deplaning, and connecting to another flightUnited AirlinesEarly boardingPersonalized assistance with check-in, boarding, deplaning, and connecting to another flightAdjoining seat for assistive companions, such as interpretersCaptions and subtitle options on the in-flight entertainmentAt least one telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) in each domestic airport6. What are Your Rights as a Traveler with a Hearing ImpairmentIn July of 2022, the U.S. Department of Transportation published a Bill of Rights that describes the fundamental rights of air travelers with disabilities under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA or Act).The Bill of Rights:The Right to Be Treated with Dignity and RespectThe Right to Receive Information About Services and Aircraft Capabilities and LimitationsThe Right to Receive Information in an Accessible FormatThe Right to Accessible Airport FacilitiesThe Right to Assistance at AirportsThe Right to Assistance on the AircraftThe Right to Travel with an Assistive Device or Service AnimalThe Right to Receive Seating AccommodationsThe Right to Accessible Aircraft FeaturesThe Right to Resolution of a Disability-Related IssueFor more information on flying with a disability, read our post on wheelchair services at the airport. Please let us know what topics we should address next. We aim to make air travel as transparent and clear as possible for all travelers.