Simple Answer: ALWAYS
Truth of the matter is that, as hard of hearing individual, you cannot and should not forgo bringing something that gives you a better quality of life. Hearing aids and Cochlear Implants are those things.
I always have my hearing aids with me and on me, whether that’s in my backpack, bag, or coat pocket. I also always travel with extra batteries, a drying container, and cleaning kit, which I’ve managed to consolidate into a single bag along with my other toiletries.
That said, not every situation while travelling is created equal and not every hard of hearing traveler will deal with these situations the same way.
First and foremost, you should know that hearing aids are electronics–and just like every other non-waterproof, airtight electronic, they should not be around certain environments.
-Extreme Cold or Extreme Heat.
If any one of these or more than one of these qualifies, leave those hearing aids in a dry-kit or coat, but have them handy in case you need to put them on to help understand what is going on around you. Never put them on longer than necessary, and always make sure to store them safely.
Outside of that, when and where you wear hearing aids / cochlear implants is a preferential thing and varies from person to person, so use your judgement. For example, if you don’t like overly loud or low-pitched environments because they are so exhausting or give you a headache, take them off, even if that means missing out on certain things ( like the hustle and bustle of a market, or the screech of a tram). If you don’t like getting your hearing aids sweaty, don’t wear them for long periods of time during the summer or in hot weather while traveling.
Lastly, if you are reading this and you are accompanying a hard of hearing individual during a trip, don’t get upset with them for not wearing their assistive devices. Please understand that it’s for their comfort and benefit. Hearing aids and Cochlear Implants are expensive, y’all, and if we can keep them safe, that prolongs their life. If you have to, find a different way of telling your friend, family member, or partner what you want to say. For example–in noisy situations, I prefer that whoever is with me writes out things the things they want me to NOT miss them saying. Preferred choice of writing down things: Cellphone. I know it makes us look like we’re not enjoying each other’s presence to a lot of people out there who think that cellphones are the demise of face-to-face communication; however, this actually makes my experience much much better than if we were trying to hear each other over the noise while screaming.
But, Ada, I’m afraid of losing or misplacing my hearing aids/ cochlear implants…:(
I’ve lost a hearing aid once, and it was a painful, painful experience. It didn’t happen on a trip; however, I know that my parents often worried I would lose them when I was traveling on my own. As I mentioned above, they’re not cheap depending on your hearing loss and the type of hearing aid you need. So what can you do to prevent losing them?
Form a habit of putting your hearing aids / cochlear implants in the same places. Whenever I travel, my hearing aids go into one of two places: a dry container that goes into my backpack/ bag (95% of the time this is how I carry them) or the breast pocket of one of my two coats that have those pockets (5% of the time). So no matter what happens, I always know exactly where they are, because I automatically place them there. So find a method that works for you, is accessible, and which also protects your assistive devices.
So, in summary, traveling with your assistive hearing devices doesn’t have to be a stressful experience, or prevent you from actually traveling. If used wisely and with care, your assistive hearing devices WILL bring a higher quality to your trip.