Travelling with hearing loss… don’t let it hold you back

Hearing problems leave many Brits feeling nervous about travelling to unfamiliar places, according to new research. Read these top 10 tips to help ensure you’re able to travel with confidence whatever level of impairment you have.

hearing loss and travel

Don’t let worries over hearing loss hit your travel plans

Problems hearing in crowds or locations with intrusive background noise mean around 30% of those who suffer from some level of hearing loss will shun holidays to ‘noisy’ destinations, research by Amplifon has found

The same percentage of travellers with hearing issues admitted their hearing problems make them feel anxious when they go on holiday or travel somewhere new.

Despite the impact of hearing problems on their lives and holidays, a quarter revealed they waited at least five years before seeking professional help. More than one in ten (13%) suffered in silence for longer than 10 years.

According to charity Action On Hearing Loss, there are thought to be 6.7 million people in the UK who would benefit from a hearing aid but do not currently have one.

Hearing loss can affect people in different ways but early signs include muffling of speech and other sounds, difficulty understanding words, especially against background noise or in a crowd of people, and trouble hearing consonants.

For those about to book a city break, New York, Madrid and Tokyo were revealed to be among the noisiest cities around the globe.

Find out more about hearing loss and how to tackle it here

10 tips to make travelling less stressful

Hearing loss doesn’t need to put you off travel and these tips can help make your travelling experience even more rewarding…


Follow these tips and embrace the world

1. Never feel uncomfortable about telling people you have hearing loss. Being open will make everyone feel more relaxed and be able to make allowances.
2. Tell your travel agent you are hearing impaired – they can ensure airlines, hotels, and attractions make arrangements.
3. Hearing aid users should always carry spare batteries when travelling just in case they are not available at your travel destination.
4. If you are dependent on hearing aids, you should have travel with a spare devices in case one is lost or damaged.
5. Avoid flying with a head cold as this is not only likely to make your hearing worse but cabin pressure changes can cause considerable discomfort. If flying with a head cold is unavoidable, use a nasal decongestant and swallow frequently if you feel any pressure in your ears.
6. When travelling by plane, train or coach reserve your seating in a way that ensures background noise is less of a problem. If you have one ear worse than the other, choose an aisle seat so that your better ear is next to any travelling companion.
7. Ask your airline in advance if it provides subtitles for its inflight movies. If not, bring your own movies on a tablet or mobile phone.
8. If travelling abroad to a hot and/or humid country and you use hearing aids, take a dehumidifier kit with you to use at night to keep your hearing aids protected from the effects of perspiration and air humidity.
9. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from fellow travellers – most are more than willing to offer assistance.
10. If you’re worried about your hearing, make sure you visit a specialist before you travel.

Apps to help with hearing loss while travelling

Use these mobile phone apps to help with hearing difficulties while travelling – or testing to see if you have an impairment before you leave.

Man talking

Make communication easier with these smartphone apps

Hearing test: Do you need help with hearing
Does it seem as though everyone’s mumbling, are you forever asking phone callers to repeat themselves and are family members making comments about your hearing? It’s a fact that 1 in 6 adults in the UK suffer from some form of hearing loss and this app can quickly determine if you are one of them. It’ll tell you if a full hearing test would be beneficial. Simply listen to a narrator over background noises and the app will assess your level of hearing loss.
How much: Free
Get more information here 

AUD-1: Hearing aid in your phone
This app is designed to ‘intelligently’ control sound in the environment close to the user. The system uses headphones connected to a mobile phone with the app loaded. It allows for sound fed to each ear to be adjusted independently. It also includes stereo technology to preserve spatial awareness for the user. The app allows ‘fine grain’ control over the dynamic range of sound that is processed and delivered in real time. A useful app for anyone who needs a little extra help with hearing but hasn’t yet been prescribed a standalone device.
How much: £4.99
Get more information here 

Tap Tap: Alert to sounds
This app helps those with impaired hearing respond to audio in their environment. It’ll let users know if the phone is ringing, room bell being pushed or if an alarm is sounding. Sensitivity can be adjusted to suit noisier or quieter background sound levels.
How much: £2.29
Get more information here

Live Caption: Subtitles as people speak

Need help understanding the waiter at your favourite poolside restaurant? Download this app, and they can speak directly into your phone and Live Caption transcribes in real time. To begin captioning, simply press the microphone button on the keyboard, speak normally and text results will appear. It also works with most Bluetooth devices such as headsets and in-ear microphones. Live, streaming captions as people speak into your device.
How much: £3.31
Get more information 

Travel gadgets and products to help with hearing loss

Make travels a little easier with these gadgets designed to help hard-of-hearing holidaymakers. Hover over the products below to find out more.


WHAT: Ear plugs to help provide relief from the discomfort caused by cabin pressure changes that are especially noticable during take-off and landing. Versions for adults and kids are available.
HOW MUCH: £4.99
WHERE: Purchase here 

WHAT: Worried about sleeping through your alarm and missing that 6am flight back to the UK? Not a problem with this alarm clock! Alongside various audio alarms to suit different levels and types of hearing loss, it also packs a punch with an under-pillow vibrating pad that’ll get increasingly insistent the longer it takes you to wake. There’s also a flashing blue light to help. Ideal gadget for travellers with hearing loss.
HOW MUCH: £39.98
WHERE: Purchase here 

WHAT: A water-resistant watch with analogue and digital displays – plus the option to set up five vibrating alerts to ensure you don’t miss out on any of the activities you’ve planned throughout the day
HOW MUCH: £ 86.39
WHERE: Use the following for men and women…

WHAT: From hotel rooms to villas and apartments, this simple device will let you ‘see’ a knock at the door. No fitting needed, simply hook it over the top of any door. Great for anyone suffering from mild to severe hearing loss, this battery-powered unit emits a bright, flashing light when someone knocks on your door. It reacts to vibration – making it much more effective at isolating knocks over other loud noises.
HOW MUCH: £23.99
WHERE: Purchase here 

WHAT: This standalone wire-free smoke alarm is designed specifically for travellers with hearing loss. Make sure you or a loved one isn’t put at risk from fire and smoke with this easy to use bedside unit. It employs a high-intensity strobe light and under-pillow vibrating pad. Whether in bed or up  and about, the pad or light will ensure the hearing-impaired guest is warned of possible danger. Works with your accommodation’s existing alarm.
HOW MUCH: £263.94
WHERE: Purchase here 

Top 40 misheard lyrics…


From ‘Poppadom don’t preach’ to ‘I’m Terry Wogan’… check out the classic misheard lyrics

We all need to look after our hearing, but it’s not always easy to hear what’s going on through no fault of our own. Research from hearing aid specialist Starkey Hearing Technologies revealed that 40% of us can’t understand what our favourite pop acts are actually singing. Here are the top 40 most misheard lyrics of our times…

1. “Money for nothin’ and chips for free”. Correct lyric: “Money for nothin’ and your chicks for free” from Dire Straits’ ‘Money For Nothing’.

2. “Every time you go away, you take a piece of meat with you”. Correct lyric: “Every time you go away take a piece of me with you” from Paul Young’s ‘Every Time You Go Away’.

3. “Sue Lawley”. Correct lyric: “So lonely” from The Police’s ‘So Lonely’.

4. “We built this city on sausage rolls”. Correct lyric: “We built this city on rock ‘n’ roll” from Starship’s ‘We Built This City’.

5. “Saving his life from this warm sausage tea”. Correct lyric: “Spare him his life from this monstrosity” from Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.

6. “See that girl, watch her scream, kicking the dancing queen”. Correct lyric: “See that girl, watch that scene, dig in the dancing queen” from ABBA’s ‘Dancing Queen’.

7. “Excuse me while I kiss this guy”. Correct lyric: “Excuse me while I kiss the sky” from Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Purple Haze’.

8. “Dancing queen, feel the beat from the tangerine”. Correct lyric: “Dancing queen, feel the beat from the tambourine” from ABBA’s ‘Dancing Queen’.

9. “Sweet dreams are made of cheese”. Correct lyric: “Sweet dreams are made of these” from The Eurythmics’ ‘Sweet Dreams (are made of this)’.

10. “Calling Jamaica”. Correct lyric: “Call me when you try to wake her” from R.E.M.’s ‘The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite’.

11. “Or should I just keep chasing penguins”. Correct lyric: “Or should I just keep chasing pavements” from Adele’s ‘Chasing Pavements’.

12. “All the lonely Starbucks lovers”. Correct lyric: “Got a long list of ex-lovers” from Taylor Swift’s ‘Blank Space’.

13. “I can see clearly now, Lorraine is gone”. Correct lyric: “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone” from Johnny Nash’s ‘I can see clearly now’.

14. “Gimme Gimme Gimme a man after midnight, take me to the doctors at the break of the day”. Correct lyric: “Take me through the darkness to the break of the day” from ABBA’s ‘Gimme Gimme Gimme’.

15. “Poppadom Peach”. Correct lyric: “Papa don’t preach” from Madonna’s ‘Papa don’t preach’.

16. “It doesn’t make a difference if we’re naked or not”. Correct lyric: “It doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not” from Bon Jovi’s ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’.

17. “I’m farting carrots”. Correct lyric: “I’m 14 carat” from Selena Gomez’s ‘Good for you’.

18. “Then I saw her face, now I’m gonna leave her” Correct lyric: “Then I saw her face, now I’m a believer” from The Monkees’ ‘I’m a Believer’.

19. “I want to hold your ham”. Correct lyric: “I want to hold your hand” from The Beatles’ ‘I want to hold your hand’.

20. “Kicking your cat all over the place”. Correct lyric: “Kicking your can all over the place” from Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’.

21. “Blue seal in the sky with diamonds”. Correct lyric: “Lucy in the sky with diamonds” from The Beatles’ ‘Lucy in the sky with diamonds’.

22. “Ohh, dyslexics on fire”. Correct lyric: “Ohh, this sex is on fire” from Kings of Leon’s ‘Sex on Fire’.

23. “Here we are now, in containers”. Correct lyric: “Here we are now, entertain us” from Nirvana’s ‘Smells like teen spirit’.

24. “Poppadom peach”. Correct lyric: “Papa don’t preach” from Madonna’s ‘Papa don’t preach’.

25. “Let’s pee in the corner, let’s pee in the spotlight”. Correct lyric: “That’s me in the corner, that’s me in the spotlight” from R.E.M.’s ‘Losing my religion’.

26. “Bald-headed woman… bald-headed woman to me”. Correct lyric: “More than a woman… more than a woman to me” from the Bee Gees’ ‘More than a woman’.

27. “I remove umbilicals”. Correct lyric: “I believe in miracles” from Hot Chocolate’s ‘You Sexy Thing’.

28. “We’re caught in a trout”. Correct lyric: “We’re caught in a trap” from Elvis Presley’s ‘Suspicious Minds’

29. “I’m Terry Wogan”. Correct lyric: “I’m every woman” from Chaka Khan’s ‘I’m every woman’.

30. “Let me just staple the vicar”. Correct lyric: “Just let me state for the record” from Sister Sledge’s ‘We Are Family’.

31. “This is the dawning of the Age of Asparagus” Correct lyric: “This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius” from Fifth Dimension’s ‘Aquarius’.

32. “You’re the wobbly one”. Correct lyric: “You’re the one that I want” from John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John’s ‘One that I want’.

33. “Don’t go Jason Waterfalls”. Correct lyric: “Don’t go chasing waterfalls” from TLC’s ‘Waterfalls’.

34. “A year has passed since I broke my nose”. Correct lyric: “A year has passed since I wrote my note” from The Police’s ‘Message In A Bottle’.

35. “Kick a chicken with it”. Correct lyric: “Gettin’ jiggy with it” from Will Smith’s ‘Gettin’ jiggy with it’.

36. “Hold me closer, Tony Danza”. Correct lyric: “Hold me closer, tiny dancer” from Elton John’s ‘Tiny Dancer’.

37. “Take your teeth out, tell me what’s wrong”. Correct lyric: “Chiquitita, tell me what’s wrong” from Abba’s ‘Chiquitita’.

38. “I like big butts in a can of limes”. Correct lyric: “I like big butts and I cannot lie” from Sir Mix-A-Lot’s ‘Baby Got Back’.

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