Fear of flying


I am not afraid of flying. I am afraid of the process of getting on the plane, hearing airport boarding information - the whole process of getting on the right plane. My last flight was a disaster. My daughter wants me to visit her, and I also want that, but dread the flight to the point I just don’t want to do it. How do others deal with situations like this? The flight to see my daughter does not involve any transfers. It’s just a straight flight to and from two busy big airports.



Not sure why you’re posting about this problem in a forum about hearing.

I did a quick search on google and one of the hits was an article on forbes that there were over 4 billion passengers in 2017, setting a record. That’s more than half of the people in the world. Personally, I’ve flown so many miles that there would be no way for me to estimate the number. It’s 1.5 to 2 million miles (or more). In all of those flights, I’ve had my share of delays and delayed baggage, but every time I eventually arrived at my destination and my baggage usually arrived not long after, if not with me. Nothing that I would call a disaster.

Your fear is not normal. For the overwhelming majority of people, air travel can be a hassle, but it’s not something to dread, especially when you consider that you are travelling somewhere special and/or to see someone special. You should get some counselling so travelling to see your daughter isn’t something to dread.

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The reason I’m afraid is that I can’t hear well enough to understand the public announcements, find all the noise and people overwhelming and confusing. I can’t hear the people on the public address system. If I could hear and understand I would not be afraid. That is why I am asking help from the forum.



Yes, it is problem of hearing.

There are many airports in the world, which have induction loop systems installed at desks, tellers, waiting ares, elevators, and gate areas. It is to help people hard of hearing navigate through the complex webs of the airports. All you have to do is to turn on t-coil program of your hearing aids. You can hear the public announcements clearly.

Unfortunately, that is not the case in the USA, or in Canada.

This what happened to me because I cannot hear public announcement at a airport,



And most hearing aids don’t have t-coils now days

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In the USA, not in the other parts of the world.



While I can’t say I have a fear of flying or airports, I certainly can understand your concern about hearing and navigating in an airport. Trying to find a quiet spot in an airport to talk on the phone is almost impossible. And trying to understand the announcements is also next to impossible. For me having an iPhone connected to my aids has been a really welcome relief. I can hear direct to my aids while background noise is suppressed, and I can turn up the volume to make sure I can hear for phone calls.

Hearing announcement is still a challenge as I’m sure they go out of their way to make it all sound like a Charlie Brown Waa, Waa, Waa… That said I have found the Noise/Party program on my KS8 very helpful in translating the Waa to words, while reducing the background noise.

Another help of a smart phone is to download the app for the airline you are using. That can let you stay in touch with the status of your flight without being able to hear the announcements. Failing that just play the disability card and just go to the desk and say you are having trouble hearing and can they help you.

On the plane the pilot is almost always back to the Waa, Waa, mode. But they almost never have anything important to say. Just listen to the flight attendants, and stop question them.

When getting to or from a plane ask for help. They may call a cart to take you right there. If you have any kind of physical disability don’t be afraid to ask for a wheelchair. Best to flag it when you book your ticket to say you will need assistance. When my wife had her hips replaced and she was unable to walk well, we got the best service ever in airports. The fastest trip we ever made through the Cancun airport was when we had a porter to run the wheelchair. They know all the back routes and get security preferences.

Hope that helps some,



What a heartwarming , and funny, story! I’m glad you got where you were going in style.

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My hearing aid does have a t-coil. I have an audiology appointment a week from today and will ask how to activate that program when I’m there. Don’t know if either of the airports I’ll be flying have it, but it’s worth a try. Thank you for bringing that to mind.



I need to get a cell phone! Have not up to this time because I didn’t think I’d be able to hear on one, but it would give me the ability to text even if I could not hear.



Maybe writing out possible questions on pieces of paper that worry you about Flying will help.
Like which direction is my flight?
Where’s the bathroom?
I think most people would help you if they could.

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Yes, charting things in advance would help. I took this exact flight two years ago so some of the things that were confusing then I know in advance. All eventually turned out OK, but it was not a fun time. All is well that ends well they say, and I’ll have to say that was true - just not something I’d care to repeat in whole.



Seriously, though, most things are available in print. Gates and times are printed on your boarding pass, and are aviailable on monitors throughout the airport.

Between my hearing loss and a mild cognitive perception impairment I can’t hear ANYTHING on PA announcements. It just sounds like the Charlie Brown-style waa waa waa to me, like Sierra says. I have to rely on the print and monitors, airline apps, and I also ask questions of the other passengers in the gate area after an announcement to find out what they announced.

If it’s really bad, and you’re concerned, just go to the gate podium and tell the ground crew you’re hearing impaired and can’t follow the announced instructions. Ask and maybe they’ll let you pre-board to prevent any confusion.

People are almost always very helpful if you just ask. Some will try to ignore you, and you just ask someone else.



I have pre-boarded many a time, just by letting them know I wasn’t able to understand what was being said. I have also been given free upgrades to better seats to make it easier to hear announcements.



Only slightly OT: My worst airline experience was some years ago trying to get back to Athens from Crete Island to catch my international flight home. While I was waiting at the airport in the departure concourse, an airline strike broke out over the privatization of Olympic Airways, and the announcements they were making were severely distorted, and on top of that, although they repeated the announcements in English, it was with a heavy, heavy Greek accent. I couldn’t understand a word.

I could see the docks from the departure lounge, and watched with dismay while the last ship sailed for Athens, wondering if I should have taken the boat. (The connection timing in the morning wouldn’t have worked.)

I had to get information on the strike by calling my mom back in the village. Finally I teamed up with another foreigner in the same situation as me – stranded. He was multilingual but spoke very clear English. Plus, he had an inside person in Olympic Airways and relayed the inside story on the strike and whether planes were flying.

I finally made it onto a flight which the selfless and dedicated crew flew even though they weren’t get paid for it. But I wouldn’t have found out about it except for that friend I made in the concourse.



Thank you all for your responses. I am definitely in good company here on this forum. And haggis’s experience makes my worst nightmare look like a pleasant dream.

You are all right in that most information is displayed, and individual help from other passengers, and employees both, is at hand.



I don’t think I’ll have much new to add:

Having been through a couple of airports in foreign countries where I don’t speak the language, I still managed to find my way around. Arrive a few minutes early, relax, get your bearings, then start looking around. Signs are everywhere, there are almost always some uniformed airline personnel in sight. Ask for help finding whatever you need. Getting through security will always be a pain, for anyone. Once you get to the gate, go up front to the gate agent and let him or her know that you have trouble understanding the boarding announcements and you’d like someone to flag you down when they get ready so you can be prepared. As busy as gate agents get, they do seem to really appreciate a kind word and the opportunity to really help someone vs being yelled at or complained to about something outside their control.

I’m just going to toss this out there. but if all those sounds are causing extra stress or anxiety, maybe remove your aids? You can do this without them.

On board the aircraft there’s another set of problems. There are exit row seats you probably shouldn’t take if you can’t hear or understand spoken instructions. Also, the flight crew is required to give a safety briefing. Even though most people ignore it, if you do think it’s something important enough to hear, then you need to mention something to a flight attendant when you board. They’ll help out, and then if there is an announcement they’ll come by and let you know what was said, so you don’t have to worry about missing anything important.

Relax, it will all be OK.



Another reassuring voice of reason. Thank you for your response.

Again it impresses me what a kind and helpful group of people there are here. Thank you all.



Okay, now your post makes sense.

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I flew a few months ago and it was impossible for me to hear the announcements in the airport. My recommendation is learn everything yourself and don’t depend on announcements. Read your tickets ahead of time (day of flight would be fine) and know your flight number and gate. Get familiar with the airport layout so you know where you are going. Get completely self-sufficient, then it will take that stress off of you.