Navigating the Subway: Hearing Loss Awareness on Your Commute

Hearing loss affects every facet of your life. Sound is so crucial to our communication and understanding of the world around us, yet we don’t realize how much we rely on it until we start to have trouble with our hearing. There is no reason, however, for hearing loss to cut you off from the world – on the contrary, with the help of a hearing aid specialist, you can continue to live a full and engaged life.

In order to make this a reality, it’s important to be aware of situations that will require a little extra planning. When you move through noisy environments, whether it’s a holiday party or a crowded subway station, your ability to hear the people you’re with is going to be challenged. Especially in a bustling city like New York, even the daily commute can be a struggle. Going in with a plan ensures you get where you’re going and have a good time without unnecessary stress.

Here are our top tips for navigating your travels with hearing loss.

The Subway Soundscape: Hearing Loss Challenges Underground

New York is a surprisingly accessible city for those with hearing loss. This isn’t always true of the subway, however. The tumultuous activity on a rush-hour platform means the background noise can be overwhelming, even for people without hearing loss. The noise level can make it difficult to hear your travel companions and, crucially, the information announcements. You might also experience auditory overload.

The announcements themselves are often inconsistent and not repeated. The actual speaker system is often not very clear, even if there’s not much background noise. While there is signage throughout the subway system, it is sometimes not sufficient for someone operating without aural cues. There are few visual cues in the stations and on the trains, so if something happens on your journey, you might be the last to know. Fortunately, subway information booths and call boxes are telecoil compatible, transmitting the sound directly through your hearing aid.

Your Smart Subway Survival Guide

#1 Download an App

There are many apps available that can relay critical information so you aren’t reliant on the audio announcements. A map of the stops and alerts about delays can be a huge help when navigating the subway system, especially if you’re going somewhere new.

#2 Arrive Early

As with most traveling, it’s usually a good idea to arrive well before your train is set to depart. This will allow you plenty of time to find the right platform and get where you need to be without stress. It also gives you a time buffer to become aware of any changes to the schedule and move to a different platform if you need to.

#3 Wear Your Hearing Aids

#4 Pick A Travel Buddy

Traveling with a friend going in the same direction as you can be extremely helpful when it comes to emergency announcements. If the train has to stop suddenly, the reasoning is usually only relayed via a verbal announcement, which may be difficult to hear. Having someone with you who can pass the message along can ease some travel stress. If you are riding alone, ask the people around you for clarity if you feel comfortable and able to do so.

Confident Travels, With a Little Help from Your Hearing Aid Specialist