A New App Helps People with Hearing Loss Travel

A New App Helps People with Hearing Loss Travel

Leanne E. Polhill, LHAS, BC-HIS, BA Hearing Health, Hearing Loss, Hearing Technology, News, Travel

Leanne E. Polhill, LHAS, BC-HIS, BA
Latest posts by Leanne E. Polhill, LHAS, BC-HIS, BA (see all)

When you live with hearing loss, you don’t want it to get in the way of doing the things you love. Traveling is one of life’s great pleasures whether you’re going somewhere you’ve never been or getting time to explore a destination you already love. Planning travel can be daunting though – even with healthy hearing!

Now, a new app is using technology to help people with accessibility concerns travel better. “The Rebel Traveler’s Guide to the World” is being developed by Gabriel Schlieve, a seasoned traveler who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. Schlieve loves traveling and adventure and sees crowdsourcing technology as a great way to share accessibility information amongst travelers and locals alike.

A Growing Perspective

The Rebel Traveler’s Guide to the World began as a project to share tips and advice for navigating new cities in a wheelchair and quickly grew to encompass data for other important accessibility information. Based in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Schlieve began developing the app while on a trip to Swaziland. The initial development was funded by a Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Reciprocal Exchange and is being continued with Schlieve’s return stateside.

Working from familiar territory, the app is gathering information currently for Eau Claire, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Chicago and will begin expanding its geographical reach from there. Swaziland has also been developed into the app as its first international destination. From here, users of the technology can contribute access information and share travel tips and information. The app is being built to include data for people with hearing and vision concerns in addition to mobility issues.

Traveling with Hearing Loss

If you are planning a trip but worried about traveling with hearing loss, know that a little planning can really help set you on the right path. Travel can be smoothest when you take the time to plan your itinerary and research where you will go and how you’ll get there.

If you are staying at a hotel or bed and breakfast, contact them ahead of time to see what is available for their guests with hearing loss. Some hotels can offer you vibrating alarm clocks and alert systems.

Before you go, use a smartphone or mobile device to download maps and apps for your travel. Most airlines have a digital app that can alert you to travel delays and gate changes, as well as helping you check into your flight ahead of time.

For logistics, technology can really help things run smoothly. You may also want to mark a paper or digital map with your destinations so you can ask for information and directions more easily.

Getting the Most from Your Hearing Aids

Do you wear hearing aids to help you hear? Great! Hearing aids can be a big help when you are traveling. Not only do they help you experience the surrounding sound better, many hearing aids incorporate specific technology to help you in public spaces.

Many airports, train and bus terminals, museums, schools and public spaces have a telecoil loop available for people with equipped hearing aids. Telecoil loop systems can stream audio information to your hearing aid so you hear messages directly in your ear canal, almost like picking up a radio station. Telecoil loops can be a great help in comprehending audio in otherwise noisy environments.

A lot of modern hearing aids also now offer smartphone compatibility, where audio from your mobile device is streamed directly to your ear canal. This technology can help you navigate a city better, and used as a tool for enjoying conversations and entertainment both at home or abroad.

When traveling with hearing aids, be sure to pack everything you need – extra batteries to last your trip, a waterproof, dehydrating storage case, and your charger if you use rechargeable hearing aids. Keep your hearing aids clean and away from water and moisture while you travel and be sure to check the batteries frequently.

Encore Hearing

At Encore Hearing we can’t wait to hear about your next big adventure! Whether you’re headed to Paris, France or Paris, Texas, we want to be your home base for hearing health. Encore Hearing’s team offers personal, specialized hearing care from annual testing to assistive devices. If you have questions about your hearing, set up an appointment with us today!