Emily Martinson, Au.D., Ph.D.

I live in downtown Washington, DC, and for me springtime means two things: cherry blossoms and tourists.  As I see the beautiful pink cherry blossoms appear on the trees, I also see enormous packs of eighth graders in matching neon t-shirts. School children and adults alike come from all over the country to see the White House, Capitol, Library of Congress, and all of the DC monuments.  Often these visits involve guided tours, and often these tours are outdoors.  The combination of listening at a distance and background noise can be a challenge for people with hearing loss.

If you are one of the (to ballpark it) 17 bazillion people coming to take a tour of DC this year, there are a few things you can do to make sure that you can hear everything during your tour. Make sure to stand as close to the tour guide as possible.  Your brain uses visuals to help fill in the blanks on what is being said and seeing the tour guide’s face is a perfect visual. Take advantage of personal listening devices if your tour offers them.

Some tours offer microphone and earphone systems to help everyone hear better. If your tour does not have a microphone system, you can use a remote microphone connected to your hearing aids to help you hear your best.  Your audiologist or hearing care provider can help you get this set up. Enjoy your trip, and make sure to stop by Ben’s Chili Bowl for a half smoke!

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