Hearing Friendly Airports

Posted By Sam Bennett on 211.01.2018 12.01

Its the season to book a holiday! Something to look forward to throughout the year!

Some people may not understand the anxiety regarding a person who struggles with hard of hearing. Missing important flight announcements and being in the wrong place.

Not only is Hawaii popular for its extraordinary beaches and breathtaking views, it is also hearing loss friendly!
Several months ago the Barnes family were lucky enough to visit Hawaii. 

"It was a wonderful trip so it was with a heavy heart that we headed to the airport for our flight back home on Hawaiian Airlines. But while we waited for the flight, something amazing happened. Every time the desk agents played a pre-recorded announcement (like the ones that announce boarding procedures), the screen displaying the flight details transformed into an open captions screen!" As you can see it in the two photos below.

Now that is what I call a hearing loss friendly airport!


"My son noticed it first. “Look, Mum,” he cried, “There are captions!” He is always so excited when somebody does something to make it easier for me to hear. Since I was traveling with my family, I was not paying attention to all the announcements and flight details they way I would if I had been on my own. When alone, I sit right at the gate so I have a visual of everything that is happening in case of any travel disruptions."

"Once I saw them, I was extremely happy about the captions, but I wondered if the main purpose was to help those with hearing issues. Hawaii is such an international destination, perhaps it was more for the benefit of those who don’t speak English as their first language. Either way, it shows the power of inclusive design — the benefit not only falls to the group needing the assistance, but to the community at large as well."

"Only the pre-recorded messages were captioned, so I’m not sure how well they would have worked if there had been a gate change or other unexpected event, but it was certainly better than nothing. I believe we will be seeing more of this at other airports in the near future as air travel advocacy efforts continue."

Changes are already underway for rules about in-flight entertainment which should improve the number of entertainment options on flights that are captioned. 

Air travel can be challenging for people with hearing loss, but with current advocacy efforts and technology fixes — always download your airline’s app to your smart phone before going to the airport — it is already possible for people with hearing loss to fly safely and productively. The work for further improvements continues!

We hope this takes off throughout other airports (excuse the pun). I personally think this is a fantastic idea! This will boost confidence of people with hard of hearing to travel alone, go places and just enjoy life!


Look out for these next time are at an airport!