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Old 28-10-2013, 09:53   #1
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Deafness

Not sure this would be the correct forum but given it's a safety issue, for me at least, I thought I'd post here.

I'm looking for ideas and suggestion to overcome a hearing problem or lack of hearing to be more precise.

Quick background. I've been sailing since 12 (I'm quite a bit older now) and have travelled, sailed extensively. I have a disease that took my hearing recently. I now have two cochlear implants that restored "basic" hearing. I can understand speech if I'm looking at the person and can hear noise although it's sometimes difficult to figure out what the noise might be. With any background noise or speech I don't do well. Talking (listening) on the phone is next to impossible. It's getting better with practice but will never be normal or even close.

So here is my dilemma and really my only concern - using the radio.

I sail a few times a weak at my home port. I always have the radio on and can understand some very clear communications but as we all know, interference and accents can make it difficult. I plan on doing a bit more long range sailing and visiting a few Caribbean countries and I'm concerned about radio communication.

So I'll throw it out there... Any thoughts or suggestions from the community on addressing this issue? Oh, I "mostly" single hand. If I have a crew, then no problem but that isn't always the case and probably won't be in the future.
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Old 28-10-2013, 10:21   #2
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Re: Deafness

There is a member of this forum who I believe is totally deaf and sails. Maybe he will chime in.
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Old 28-10-2013, 10:23   #3
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Re: Deafness

Wasn't that long ago and many sailors had no radio or a simple VHF that was turned off most of the time. Why worry about talking or listening on the radio. Consider email if you have to get messages out
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Old 28-10-2013, 10:34   #4
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Re: Deafness

I'm not sure we should be giving advice to a pirate

I think the plus side to this is that you can talk. So when on the radio you can at least indicate that you can't understand them and let them know what you are doing, could someone meet you at the dock..etc.

Not sure at all what options there might be if you NEED to get information from someone else on the radio though. But perhaps if you can distinguish between certain things you can at least give them a way to say Yes or No. Yes 3 times vs no once or something like that maybe? Kind of like knock twice for yes, once for no...
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Old 28-10-2013, 10:45   #5
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Re: Deafness

Ah, but I'm a benevolent pirate. Lol.

Robert, good point. Maytrix, also a good point that I can easily hail someone and have them meet me for check in, etc.
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Old 29-10-2013, 06:43   #6
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Re: Deafness

A close friend has been deaf for many years, from a disease prior to mid-life. He too wears a Cochlear Implant (CI) and has sailed single handed for many years. He'd too would love to hear more how other sailers commmunicate when deaf over the radio.

My friend likes to tell this story, "One time before I got my CI I had to radio for some assistance. I said that I was deaf, but I put my hand on the loudspeaker and asked whoever was receiving to say "yes" if he could hear me. Just "yes," and I would feel the vibration. I felt a vibration. Then I described the assistance I needed (ungrounding). If he could help, say "yes." If not, say "no, no." (two vibrations). One vibration. We continued on in this manner until things were arranged and soon I was rescued. God must have been disappointed"
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Old 29-10-2013, 07:04   #7
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Re: Deafness

I too have deafness and wear two hearing aid, mind you not cochlear, but same issues and concerns.

I recently upgrade my hearing aids this past summer. They are Bluetooth enabled which allows them to be paired to a cell phone via "Compilot"
I also acquired what they call a "TVLink". Your TV audio plugs into it and it streams audio to the compliot and then to the aids.

So I think lets see how this could work on the boat? It can be powered by a USB port, which I have on my audio deck located at the nav station.
I first plugged the audio deck in to see what would happen....music in my ears where ever I went onboard. to cool.
So let plug the VHF into it. Again clear radio transmission right to my ears!!! Love it!!

That was the first experiment with it but, I can see how it will become a regular set up.

Cheers
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Old 29-10-2013, 08:20   #8
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Re: Deafness

My issue is clarity of hearing not really volume. The Cochlear Implants (CI) give me the capability to "hear" but it's the clarity that suffers. For those not familiar with the CI, sounds are very mechanical. You get used to it and the mechanical fades to normal but not completely.

I like the idea of the vibrations. I think I can understand a yes/no speech so maybe keeping it simple.

Wireless... yes, that is something that will be explored in depth soon. My CI company is coming out with an upgraded external unit that will be smaller and have a myriad of new features with one of them being bluetooth/wireless connectivity. My thought is that I can run the radio directly into the CI and eliminate the background noises by removing the CI that is not "listening" That way I can focus on just the radio. It will be hard but it's worth trying.

Something I'm going to try this week is direct connect with a hand held radio. I have attachments for the CI that can fit into the audio jack of the handheld and may be able to get a direct connect similar to what I described above for the wireless method. The only minor problem is the cable and I'd have to "wear" the radio all the time. Small sacrifice though.

My other concern is watch keeping or being off watch and hearing various alarms if I'm asleep. I have a few ideas there but haven't tried them. They basically include sleeping with one of the CI's attached so I can hear "noise" like and alarm or something else.

The good thing in all this is that I'm pretty in tune to the movement of the boat and the various "sounds", motions and vibrations while under way and at anchor. That helps quite a bit.

Looking forward to hearing other ideas or tales from the deaf side... LOL
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Old 29-10-2013, 08:59   #9
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Re: Deafness

Coast Guard Changes Policy on Deaf Boaters ➥ Deaf Boater - Jack Innis, Legend Hunter/Storyteller
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Old 29-10-2013, 10:34   #10
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Re: Deafness

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Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Coast Guard Changes Policy on Deaf Boaters ➥ Deaf Boater - Jack Innis, Legend Hunter/Storyteller

Wow, this is great stuff! Thanks for posting!
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Old 14-01-2014, 10:11   #11
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Re: Deafness

Sorry for this late reply. I have a friend who is the first deaf man to solo RTW. He delivered boats for a while too. I can give him your email if you are still looking for ideas and solutions. Just PM me if you are interested.
Cheers
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Old 17-01-2014, 07:31   #12
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Re: Deafness

A deaf daughter in law has a flashing,vibrating (I think) baby monitor. Modifying something like that to be wired to a bilge alarm might work. Actually, no modifying, it picks up the "cries" of your bilge alarm and wakes you up.
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Old 17-01-2014, 08:54   #13
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Re: Deafness

My brother's been deaf since he was a child. His whole place is rigged with lights that attach to various devices. His alarm clock is even rigged that way. His only compromise is that he needs to sleep in a room that is totally black; that way any shift in light wakes him up. Search around for alerting systems and you will find lots of sensors/devices that react to sound etc.

The other thing is try and find out what range your hearing is best at. Often you can fiddle around with the sound to make it clearer.

Good luck!
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Old 17-01-2014, 09:36   #14
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Re: Deafness

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Originally Posted by sail2fish View Post
A deaf daughter in law has a flashing,vibrating (I think) baby monitor. Modifying something like that to be wired to a bilge alarm might work. Actually, no modifying, it picks up the "cries" of your bilge alarm and wakes you up.
Great idea. I'd like it specifically for a proximity alarm when achored!!! Or even an Ais/radar proximity alarm. That idea has some great merit. Thanks!!!
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Old 17-01-2014, 09:39   #15
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Re: Deafness

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Originally Posted by Macblaze View Post
My brother's been deaf since he was a child. His whole place is rigged with lights that attach to various devices. His alarm clock is even rigged that way. His only compromise is that he needs to sleep in a room that is totally black; that way any shift in light wakes him up. Search around for alerting systems and you will find lots of sensors/devices that react to sound etc.

The other thing is try and find out what range your hearing is best at. Often you can fiddle around with the sound to make it clearer.

Good luck!
Another good idea with lights and alarms.

If in awake, I always have the cochlear implants on and working. It's the radio and sleeping that concerns me. But the lights and a vibrating alarm and great ideas. I'm working on the radio thing....
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