It's estimated that 3 million children in the United States have some form of hearing loss. This can make things like air travel much more challenging for families. We've included expert advice on how to make that next trip a smooth flight.
Theo Valles doesn't travel without this kit.
"I love traveling and knowing new things," Theo said.
The 12-year-old was diagnosed with hearing loss as a toddler.
"Is he going to be able to go to school? Is he going to be able to be independent?" Romina Picon, Theo's Mom, told Ivanhoe.
Theo got his first cochlear implant at age nine and his second at eleven.
Ivette Cejas, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Otolaryngology, University of Miami Health System stated, "Often times our families of kids with hearing loss really struggle in knowing how to prepare in order to travel." Dr. Cejas works with children with all types and degrees of hearing loss and their families.
"Be ready, be prepared, kind of have a little checklist of what things they need to be traveling with," continued Dr. Cejas. She says whether your child wears hearing aids or has a cochlear implant like Theo pack the backups.
"Having extra equipment, extra batteries," Dr. Cejas said. She warns not to put that extra equipment through the x-ray machines. "That can damage the programs on the device," Dr. Cejas shared. But going through TSA doesn't mean they have to remove their hearing devices.
"They should keep them on as they are considered medical equipment," stated Dr. Cejas. Theo flew to Boston by himself last summer for sleepover camp. "By myself is pretty cool because you get more independence and you have more responsibilities," smiled Theo.
His mom says she doesn't want anything to hold her son back. "I could not let my fears win," exclaimed Romina. Proving the sky is the limit, and never letting a disability keep you grounded!
Parents should also notify the airline or airport that they will be traveling with a hearing impaired child because there may be extra services they can get. And of course, you should always check with your child's doctor for any specific instructions. Theo's mom told him in case of an emergency to make sure he tells an adult he has hearing loss.