Whether you’re a first-time or seasoned cruiser, taking a cruise is an exciting experience. However, if you’re a hearing aid user, it may also bring along certain challenges that you must address to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey.
We’ll discuss what to pack, recommend the best things to do on a cruise, suggest ways to have a peaceful dining experience, and advise the crucial step of scheduling a follow-up appointment before your departure. All to make your vacation with hearing aids the best and least stressful.
Packing for the Cruise
What to pack for your cruise can make a significant difference in your overall cruise experience.
- Spare Hearing Aids: It’s always a good idea to carry an extra pair of hearing aids. This will act as a safety net in case your primary pair encounters any issues. Especially since you do not have the option of any professional repair options on a cruise.
- Batteries/Charging equipment: Don’t forget to pack plenty of batteries if your hearing aids require them. If your devices are rechargeable, don’t forget the charger.
- Cleaning Tools: A basic hearing aid cleaning kit is necessary to maintain the hygiene and functionality of your hearing aids. The kit generally includes a wax pick and brush to clean the device. Also don’t forget to change wax traps.
- Drying Container or Dehumidifier: If your cruise destination is humid, consider carrying a dehumidifier to prevent moisture build-up in the hearing aids.
- Waterproof Case: A waterproof case for your hearing aids can be a lifesaver, especially if you plan on participating in water activities.
Here’s a quick checklist in a table format for you to refer to while packing:
|Spare Hearing Aids||1 pair|
|Batteries/Charger||Sufficient for the trip duration|
|Cleaning Tools||1 kit|
Activities on the Cruise
There are many activities on a cruise that can be enjoyed by people with hearing aids.
- Excursions: Many cruises offer exciting on-shore excursions. Be sure to inform your tour guide about your hearing challenges, so they can ensure that you don’t miss out on any critical information.
- Exercise: Exercise can help reduce tinnitus and help you maintain hearing health.
- Shows and Performances: Many cruise lines offer closed-captioning for their shows. Make sure to check in advance to plan your activities. In these situations, it is best to sit in the front of the theater, not just for the better view but also so any noise from the crowd is behind you. Hearing aids focus more on what you are looking at.
- Relaxation Activities: Sunbathing, reading a book, enjoying the spa—cruise ships offer a range of relaxing activities that don’t require intensive hearing.
- Dining: Most cruise ships offer a variety of dining experiences, from buffet-style meals to formal dining rooms.
To have the best dining experience, request a quiet corner in the dining room, preferably where most of the noise is behind you. This will help you focus on the conversations at your table. You can also use directional microphones on your hearing aids to focus on the conversations you want to listen to.
Pre-Departure Follow-Up Appointment
Before you set sail, it’s essential to schedule a follow-up appointment with your audiologist.
The purpose of this appointment is to ensure that your hearing aids are in full working order. This is the perfect time to address any issues you’ve been experiencing and make any necessary adjustments to your hearing aids.
Your audiologist can also provide more personalized advice on dealing with potential challenges that might arise during the cruise.
Communicate Your Needs
Make sure to let the cruise staff know about your hearing needs. They may have specific facilities or services designed to assist you, like visual alerts for emergencies or important announcements, or accommodations in entertainment shows and events.
Pack a Connectivity Device
If you use a connectivity device that streams audio from your phone, TV, remote microphone or other devices directly to your hearing aids, bring it with you. It can be especially useful if you want to watch a movie in your cabin or listen to audio tours during excursions.
Protect from Sun and Water
Protect your hearing aids from excessive sun exposure and water. Even if your hearing aids are water-resistant, it’s a good idea to remove them during water-based activities or at the beach to avoid potential damage.
Use Mobile Apps
Many hearing aid manufacturers offer mobile apps that allow you to control your hearing aid settings directly from your smartphone. These do not require an internet connection to work. If your hearing aids have this feature, ensure the app is installed and fully functional on your phone. These apps can be incredibly helpful for adjusting your hearing aids based on different environments on the ship.
Remember to Rest
Finally, remember to take out your hearing aids at night to rest your ears and to give your devices a break. This will also allow your hearing aids to air out and prevent potential moisture buildup.
In summary, while taking a cruise with hearing aids does require some extra preparation and care, it can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. It is personally my favorite vacation. Following these tips can help ensure that you are prepared and can make the most out of your cruise vacation.