HearWell’s Guide to a Hearing Loss-Friendly Vacation in NYC

As some of the premier hearing aid specialists in New York, we are privileged to get to know the New Yorkers who are affected by hearing loss. For many, when they first begin to suspect a problem, it feels like their world is closing in. Often, we don’t realize how much of our world requires hearing, especially when it comes to entertainment, until we begin to lose it. It is our privilege to show people that hearing loss does not mean silence and isolation. 

Apart from the advances in hearing aid technology, the world has grown more conscious of the need for accessibility and inclusion. Things are not perfect, but it’s now easier than ever to enjoy a magical New York vacation, with all the iconic experiences, when you or a family member has hearing loss. 

Join us for a quick tour of all the wonderful things to do and see in our home city.

Lift the Curtain on Accessibility at the Theater

New York is known for a lot of things – Times Square, the fashion, the food, you name it – but very little gets close to the global cultural impact of Broadway. The magic of the theater is a treat whether you’re a local or a tourist.

What should you look for before you book your tickets? There are a variety of accessibility options, making theater performances more accessible for the deaf community and those with hearing loss. Your level of hearing loss will dictate to some extent what your needs might be – for example, for many people with hearing loss, an ASL interpreter would be lost on them because they don’t speak sign language. A captioning device might be more appropriate where the performance doesn’t include open captioning. Always check your theater’s accessibility options, be in touch if needed, and arrive early to ensure you can claim your device in good time.

In addition to these accommodations, there are a few simple things you can do to enhance your enjoyment of theater shows. Make sure you book as close to the stage as possible to give you a clear view of the actors’ facial expressions and mouth movements. There are sometimes designated sections for the Deaf and hard of hearing, especially when an interpreter is on hand. You should also familiarize yourself with the show ahead of time, giving yourself the ability to follow what’s going on even if you miss a bit of dialogue here and there.

Many of the hottest shows on Broadway and across New York have accessible performances. Sites like Theater Access NYC, the Theatre Development Fund, and HandsOn provide an up-to-date listing of all the current shows and their accessibility options.

Soak in the Art & History at New York’s Museums & Galleries

New York is a museum lover’s dream – and even if you aren’t a “museum person,” you’re sure to find something to enjoy. You could spend your entire vacation exploring the city’s world-renowned museums and art galleries and only scratch the surface. 

Most of the biggest museums offer accessibility programs that include options for people who are hard of hearing. The Museum of Modern Art, for example, has an extensive range of accessibility programs, including offering hearing aid loop systems that most modern hearing aids can pick up through the telecoil. This magnetic, wireless signal allows audio descriptions and other linked sounds to be picked up by your hearing aid, giving you better sound clarity while blocking out background noise.

The American Museum of Natural History is an interactive gem that will keep the whole family entertained for hours. Transcripts of shows and planetarium presentations can be downloaded beforehand, and captioning glasses are available for some shows. Make sure you contact the museum ahead of time to ensure their availability during your visit. Infrared assistive listening devices and induction loop hearing systems are available upon request in some galleries.

Visit New York’s Most Iconic Hotspots

Even many locals haven’t visited some of the Big Apple’s most notable landmarks. The Empire State Building is not just a marvel of engineering – it also offers magnificent views from the observation deck on the 86th floor. The interactive Empire State Building Guide app gives you access to audio tours through your phone, which is especially convenient for those with Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids.

If you’re hearing the call of Lady Liberty, then Liberty Island is a must-visit. The island is home to the Statue of Liberty Museum, a fascinating in-depth look into the legendary statue. There are a range of options for deaf and hard-of-hearing visitors, including guides available in ASL and printed versions of the self-guided audio tour. Ranger tours in ASL can be arranged in advance.

Wherever you plan to visit, you’re sure to find hearing accessibility options on their website.

The Best of NYC at Your Fingertips With a Little Help From HearWell

In addition to external accommodations, a well-fitted hearing aid can open doors for a fantastic vacation experience. When you work with a hearing aid specialist, your hearing aid can be calibrated to work best for your specific type of hearing loss, giving you the best possible auditory boost. You may find that the right hearing aid is all you need to enjoy all the holiday fun with your family and friends. 

The HearWell team of hearing aid specialists offers a wide range of devices, from over-the-ear devices to invisible hearing aids that provide support with discretion. If you’re planning a visit or have family or friends coming to town, book a checkup appointment with us to ensure your hearing aids are working at their best.