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Flying For Those Who Are Hard Of Hearing

Sat Mar 27, 2004 1:42 pm

This thread is mainly directed towards ScottysAir and any others who are hard of hearing. I was wondering if there are any extra provisions in place with which you have to deal with?

I.e. How do you deal with crewmembers/flight attendants who might not be aware of your disability? How are you made aware of crew member instructions that are delivered over the PA and such? Are the crew members made aware ahead of time, or do they find out when they come in contact with you?

I just don't know very much about the obstacles that you may encounter while traveling, and I wanted a better understanding/appreciation for them. Are there any other major obstacles which I may have missed?

Thanks!  Smile
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RE: Flying For Those Who Are Hard Of Hearing

Sat Mar 27, 2004 1:51 pm

Usually when a person is making a reservation, the person or caretaker will usually let them know that they are making a reservation for a passenger with a hearing or seeing disability. When at the airport checking in, the agent will be informed of the disability. During boarding or flight irregularites there is a special machine that can make sure the hearing/seeing disabled passengers knows what's going on. Onboard the aircraft. If a person has a hearing disability every effort is made to make sure the passenger understands the safety demo and stuff like that, for the blind passenger they will get a braille safety card from the airport agent.
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RE: Flying For Those Who Are Hard Of Hearing

Sat Mar 27, 2004 2:18 pm

I am hard of hearing. I wear a hearing aid. When I flew to OKC on AA, i made the motion that I was deaf and would like to be seated where i could see the F/A better to read there lips. Well they put me in 7C. In the aisle right behind first class(on an MD-80). they were in frotn of me in my face shopwing me the card, and speaking VERY slowly to make sure i could understand them(since i read lips). I will never do that again, it was so annoying. SO, i just ask to pre-board, and then I do. Other flights when I am by myself, i explain to the head flight attendent that whenever he or she makes announcements to come to my seat directly and relay the message themselves, and they are ALWAYS happy to do so.


ps- hope this helped
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RE: Flying For Those Who Are Hard Of Hearing

Sat Mar 27, 2004 3:09 pm

I've been hard of hearing since I was born, and wear hearing aids on both ears (the behind the ear kind, that is). Because I've flown quite often, I don't ask for clarification when it comes to those safety announcements the FAs usually make - I pretty well know the procedures anyways. But there's one thing I don't like to miss - and that's the boarding announcement at the gate. I have to ask the gate agent to simply let me know when my flight is boarding. This means I preboard the plane along with the seniors and mothers with small children. I don't have any problem with that at all. In fact, it's more of an advantage over regular boarding.

An interesting thing about inflight announcements is that if your hearing aids have telecoil capability, you can switch to telecoil (also referred to as the telephone switch) and listen to the IFE on your headphones and cut out the background noise at the same time. Not to mention that if the captain's announcement on the PA will also override whatever you're listening to on the IFE headphone. This means that you can make out what the captains just said without worrying about the background noise of the aircraft in flight. Of course, not all planes have IFE, especially turboprops and probably RJs too. In that case, you might have to ask the FA or another passenger if you want to know what the captain just said.

Speaking of emergency exit rows, unfortunately I have been told that disabled persons are prohibited from sitting there for very valid safety reasons. I know such rules are indeed set up by Tranport Canada and while I haven't flown any US airlines for a very long time, I believe the FAA and the DOT have similar rules too.

Interestingly, the next flight that I have booked so far is to Winnipeg for a conference set up by the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association near the end of May, although I might also end up flying to Vancouver before that conference.
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RE: Flying For Those Who Are Hard Of Hearing

Sat Mar 27, 2004 7:27 pm

I'm hard-of-hearing as well. Was born with a moderate loss in both ears, and I wear aids in the ears (called half shells). But that has never stop me from enjoying the art of flying, both as a former student pilot & as a passenger. I've been taught to read lips from age 4. So speaking from my own personal experience, I've just been treated as another paying customer. No special treatment or such. Just one request I usually ask is that I'm seated on the starboard side of the cabin as I tend to favor my left side when dealing with seatmates & F/As. And for the record, because I'm hearing-impaired I still was able to get away with obtaining a student pilot license & working with 737s as an certified ops agent with F9. It doesn't stop me from enjoying aviation.  Wink/being sarcastic Regards.
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RE: Flying For Those Who Are Hard Of Hearing

Sat Mar 27, 2004 8:58 pm

I'm half deaf in my left ear (spinal meningitis is a bugger to have when you're a baby) but it doesn't bother me. I imagine that when I go to get my medical I've probably have to have restrictions both for my contacts and a hearing aid (which I do have, but never wear, and it sort of annoys my parents, since it was $1500).

I have a great aunt who is in good health (for a 90 year old), but she doesn't travel alone because she's afraid she won't hear the boarding or other announcements. Hearing loss is my mother's side of the family's bane. I guess I should be thankful it's not heart disease or something, but it's not good news if you're going to be a band director.

I had one of those behind the ear models when I was really little (I got it in first grade or so). The audiologist I go to said that was the very first one he'd ever used on a patient (everyone else went for the invisible model, apparently).
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RE: Flying For Those Who Are Hard Of Hearing

Sat Mar 27, 2004 10:16 pm

I am hard of hearing. I can speak well. I couldn't hear everything but I can read lips.

I have no problem with procedures flight. I have been on flights many times since I was kid. I have a lot of experiences flying. One time, a flight attentant noticed my hearing aid. She asked me very polite about do you know how to escape emergency procedures. I told her, Thanks for telling me I do know about this, She said, OK smiling to me. It was nice!


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RE: Flying For Those Who Are Hard Of Hearing

Sat Mar 27, 2004 11:15 pm

I'm hard of hearing as well and don't consider flying a special situation. I just enter the airport, board the plane - and if I'm afraid I missed an announcement or whatever, I ask another passenger or the f/a to tell me what's going on. It's really not so much of a problem, since I face this problem everywhere else, too, and after more than 30 years of coping with my (severe) hearing loss, I have pretty much adjusted to it.

However, there is one thing that can cause real trouble: after flying I often feel a pressure on my ears wich can last over quite a while and which further spoils my hearing. If I have to attend a meeting before I got rid of the pressure - now that's always though.
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RE: Flying For Those Who Are Hard Of Hearing

Mon Mar 29, 2004 7:49 pm

I was AS first deaf CSA. I was born deaf but I can speak extreamly well which is unusual for a deaf person because most deafies cant talk at all. From my experence helping our deaf pax flying out of SEA, I have noticed how deaf pax dont like to be SSR documented, it annoys the hell out of them like Atrude777 stated earlier. Sometimes the flight attendants go overboard when it comes to a deaf pax and they get overprotective at times which is really annoying. When I fly non-rev, the CSA for the airline I would fly on would 'try' to issue me a SSR and I always tell them that a SSR is not required for me because I already work for the airlines and know how everything works in terms of boarding, using seat belts, emergency prepairdness, etc... So basically, flying as a deaf pax is just like how everybody else flies.
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RE: Flying For Those Who Are Hard Of Hearing

Mon Mar 29, 2004 8:17 pm

How about from an agent who's trained by the airline to deal with you folks.

The big message we got was that not every disabled, hard-of-hearing PAX are the same and that we shouldn't assume anything. Such PAX may not want to preboard and want to be treated like everybody else. But of course if you ask, there is, of course, no problem whatsoever.

Please ASK, inform us of what special needs you have. Boarding is easy, just watch what other people are doing. In-flight, just inform the FA to let you know of anything important and tell him/her of your connection(s) if any so you are informed of delays/change of gates etc.

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RE: Flying For Those Who Are Hard Of Hearing

Fri Apr 09, 2004 5:19 pm

Well said Bobb! AS trained me the same way so I know what you mean! Alot of deaf pax in SEA were glad to see a deaf CSA working for AS so it helped them alot.  Big thumbs up
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RE: Flying For Those Who Are Hard Of Hearing

Sat Apr 10, 2004 3:16 am

Mumps completely destroyed my left ear's auditive nerve when I was 7, so I hear 0% with my left ear. I can only hear from my right side. Fortunately for me, I got used to it, took several years of piano lessons to sharpen my right-side audition, and I have a 100% normal life. I have never needed any kind of assistance. I could wear some hearing aids (the one in my left ear would transmit via a wire behind my head the sound to my right ear) but I hate them so I never wear them (my parents also paid a lot of money when I was little so I felt bad when I decided to not use them). For me, flying is not a special situation, except that I can be annoying to the person sitting to my left.
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