#deafproblems When It Comes to Packing/Traveling

 You can't tell, but it's raining slightly, so I'm wearing my raincoat to keep my hearing aid from getting wet. (This was earlier this year when I was in New Zealand - Milford Sound.)

You can't tell, but it's raining slightly, so I'm wearing my raincoat to keep my hearing aid from getting wet. (This was earlier this year when I was in New Zealand - Milford Sound.)

As most of you know, I recently went back home to LA for a brief period before coming on the road again. This time around, I'm out for at least 7 months, and after my first stint of the year, I learned some lessons in packing. I cut down my luggage weight significantly, and I'm quite proud! Packing is no easy task, especially when you don't have a clue what will happen weather-wise. 

Anyways, at this point, 27 years into my life with a fair amount of travel under my belt, you'd think I'd have it down about what to pack when it comes to 'hard of hearing' essentials. Yeah, not so much. The second I got on the plane for Russia, I realized I forgot something that I will possibly need at some point: a back up hearing aid and ear mold (I've been having some major issues with my current mold - a story for another time- so the back up is nice to have on hand, especially since I used it during my first leg of this journey). Luckily for me, my parents can send it to someone in the states that I will be meeting up with in about a month's time!

But let's get back to these essentials. There are a fair amount of things I have to pack or think about when it comes to packing or traveling as a hard of hearing individual (and they take up space -_- that ideally could be used for other things). First and foremost, the actual hearing devices. In this case, my hearing aid is almost always in my ear, and my implant is, well, it's implanted, so there's usually no worries here. The remote for the implant, however, I have to keep track of, so that's one item on the checklist. No to mention, the remote requires AAA batters. To be honest, I usually just steal the batteries from the tv remote wherever I'm at ;) I already have to deal with carrying hearing aid batteries (aka the other power source), another item on the checklist. Do I have enough to last me 7 months? Are any already dead? Have they lost their orange protector sticky thing? Yes, these are questions that run through my head as I sort through all my gear, and no I don't think I actually checked to make sure I answered these questions. Go with the flow, I guess?

Up next - back up hearing aid and ear molds (in hearing aid case), obviously we all know I failed here, but usually this is one of the first things I check for next to batteries and remote. Also on the list is waterproof products: rain coat, umbrella, plastic bags or small waterproof container. Why, you ask? Well, my hearing aid is not waterproof, therefore, if it gets wet, it's basically gonezo, and no, I don't want to bring my bulky hearing aid dry cleaner thing with me. It's heavy and a waste of space.

All my life, I've basically played the me against water fight. It rains during a soccer game, I haul ass to the other side of the field to give my aids to my parents to protect because yeah, I'd like to be able to hear in class tomorrow ;) Or being caught out in the rain and people saying "just embrace it, you're going to get wet anyways." Yeah, dude. I wanna, but I can't. Many thought I was being prissy and didn't want to get my hair wet. It was just too much effort to explain the truth. 

Oh, and pool parties! Or being anywhere near a pool, I had a crazy fear that I would be pushed in the pool because I have made the mistake of jumping in the pool with my aids on by complete accident. By some miracle, a la wet phone in a bag of rice style and incessantly using the hair dryer on my aids, I was able to bring them back to life. Never again do I want to deal with that stress!

I tell you these water stories so you understand the dire need for an umbrella, a raincoat, and a plastic baggy type apparatus. As we all know, when traveling, weather can be unpredictable, so you will nearly always find me with an umbrella on my person and/or multiple layers of bagging devices so as to provide as many layers of protection as possible should I need to remove my aid to keep it dry from water. 

Now, this might not sound like much, but these are absolute necessities for my everyday life much like the cellphone is to a 13 year old. If I don't have these things or relative access to them, it makes my (travel) life a lot more difficult and stressful. I'm already dealing with so many foreign concepts, losing my ears or parts of my ears, for a lack of a better phrase, is not something I'd particularly enjoy handling. 

So what's the lesson here? Make sure you've got all your shit together when you decide to go to the other side of the world? Maybe cut somebody some slack when you see them having a meltdown in the airport because they forgot something? Maybe simply that my travel necessities may be different from yours and yours may be different from mine, and that it's okay that way!? Or maybe there's absolutely nothing to be learned here? Who knows. But thanks for reading about my #deafproblems when it comes to packing/traveling!