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Old 30-12-2016, 12:45   #31
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

[SIZE="6"COLOR=["Magenta"]]IF YOU ARE A US VET, CALL THE VA. THEY PROVIDE FREE HEARING AIDS TO ALMOST EVERY VET WHO APPLIES[/COLOR].[/SIZE]

Hi, I;m a 68 year-old musician, married with kids and grandkids, and my wife and I live on our trawler about half the year. I got my Phonaks free through the VA about 6 months ago. As you can tell, I recommend them.

Almost all the answers above are familiar because I reacted the same way. Adjusting to hearing aids is not easy. At first, I hated them. Everything was WAY TOO LOUD! I like things quiet. I wore them on and mostly off for 8 weeks after getting them until my first adjustment.

At my first adjustment, my AuD activated the wind screen feature and most of my issues got better - not fixed, but better. I thought I had broken one, but it was merely clogged with ear wax, a problem I had never encountered before. Oh, well. There was a lot to learn, but living on a boat has taught me to love learning new things... right?!?!?

Bottom line... Six months in, I'm glad I didn't have to pay for them. Having them, however, today, I'm wearing them. The more I wear them, the more my brain adjusts to the new level of input. I stopped shouting almost immediately, because I could hear myself. Others stopped shouting back. I have discovered that with a watch cap pulled over my ears, I can control wind noise and other outside crap. I can almost understand my grandkids (8&11). Life is incrementally better - not fixed, but better. Good luck and call the VA.
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Old 30-12-2016, 13:06   #32
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

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I fortunately always have had medical insurance which covers hearing aids. I was shocked to find out initially how much they cost! Mine are over $5,000 and they are not the most expensive!...
Many of us older types in the US have Medicare coverage, which does not cover hearing aids. After reading the posts here, I think my next foray into hearing improvement will be a visit to Costco, but I will maintain my cheapie aids for use while sailing. The better hearing and aids will probably be great, but I am not reliable about avoiding water immersion and intense spray at sea while wearing them. Oops, I forgot... what did you say?
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Old 30-12-2016, 13:12   #33
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

Costco is the best, the cheapest, best service, they sell 4 of the 6 top brands and have a store brand that is very inexpensive.
Don't waste your time anywhere else
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Old 30-12-2016, 13:17   #34
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

There are several brands of hearing aids which are (to some extent - like electronics) waterproof. Good aids are expensive (outside of Costco, with which I have no experience) expect to pay close to $5-6,000. The best way forward is to find a good audiologist near you. They should be able to advise you. By law, you can try and return new hearing aids for 30 days. Behind the ear (BTE) aids facilitate trying more than one, since the ear molds are custom for your ears and can be used with any BTE aid. I have a pair of Phonak waterproof aids (cost $5800) which I like. To be waterproof, the ear molds do not have an air vent. They do a great job of filtering out wind and engine noise. The filtering does make some of its own issues, such as my wife saying she cannot hear me due to the noise, yet I can hear her easily! Good luck on finding what works for you.
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Old 30-12-2016, 14:13   #35
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Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

I have severe hearing loss,from my days as an Air Force pilot, as an Architect, and hunting. I will turn 70 in May. I started with Lyric hearing aids about 6 years ago. They go into your ear canal and you can shower with them and they are replaced every 45 days by the Audiologist. They must be bought through an Audiologist and they are expensive - $1750 per ear per year on a subscription service. They got worse after the manufacturing of them moved to China, so I decided to get some that were controllable and Bluetooth through my phone. I have Halo by Starkey, behind the ear. Have had these about 2-1/2 years and they cost just under $5000. They have already paid for themselves versus the Lyric at $3750 per year. There are 4 basic settings and I can control them up to a point and they can be geotagged for specific locations like home, office, church, etc. and when you go back to those locations, they automatically transfer the custom settings to the location. When moving, they go into car mode and that eliminates a lot of the wind noise. I take all my phone calls through my IPhone. I annually go back to my Audiologist and have them tweaked. I wish they could take my custom settings and make that the default setting, but they cannot do that yet. Battery life is about a week, sometimes less if I have had a high number of phone calls and I get the batteries off Amazon for around $18 for 60. I have wax guards that cost next to nothing and change them out twice a week.

Sailing, I have some problems with windnoise and any background noise is hard to tune out such as a motor and inside HVAC fan noise. I was worried initially that I might wipe them off my ear and into the water walking by a shroud. So far, no problems. I do have problems hearing my vhf. My hearing loss is such that I cannot hear a phone on one ear as I have to use a speakerphone if not through my cell phone. Have very low hearing on high frequency on one side and low on the other, so I takes both ears to hear. It can be hard ear my handheld vhf over my motor sounds.

Best advice I can give is if you are young, protect your hearing. Having limited hearing is at times very frustrating. Nothing is better than natural hearing, but these aids are ok.
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Old 30-12-2016, 16:25   #36
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

I have hearing aids and use them mostly in a group of people. When by myself which is most of the time I use wireless bluetooth over the whole ear phones headset , the sound qualty of music and phone is incredible, it also has a built in microphone, about $100. Now need a Bluetooth tv. I just cant stand in the ear plugs all day. I haven't tried the hearing aid bluetooth neck dangle speech transmitter yet. Now that I thought of that, I'll try it out.
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Old 30-12-2016, 16:58   #37
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

Was strongly encouraged by wife and daughters to get hearing aids and so I made an appointment at Costco, and boy am I glad I did! This past summer got a pair of Reston Trac 42s with a Bluetooth remote and love them. I'm somewhat vain but they are pretty unobtrusive and I totally forget I'm wearing them. Have greatly improved my conversational skills as I can hear what people are saying and have loved upgrading my music system at home (summer) and on the boat (winter) as I can hear all the high frequency stuff I have been missing for years! Once back aboard for the season I have worn them much less as I don't need them while sailing with all the wind blowing and can certainly hear the vhf and my wife can and will raise her voice. Down below I wear them listening to music and are a big help listening on the SSB as I can understand so much more.
They are expensive but for the improvement in quality of life are well worth it if you can afford it. Most I have talked to who tried to get by with a cheaper solution like an amplifier are almost always disappointed.
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Old 30-12-2016, 17:13   #38
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

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Costco has one of the best retail programs going. Their Kirkland aids are manufactured by some of the main name brand manufacturers. I was able to do very well on eBay 5 years ago, but you must find an audiologist that will adjust them for you. You must also do your research and decide what would work for you, there will be no try before you buy. I got 2 new GN-Resound DOT 30's that were $1795 each at the time, for $800 for BOTH.
Another Vote for Costco. Best pricing by a long shot and comparable quality under their own brand name. Apparently you do not have to be a member to purchase these or the batteries.
I have been wearing HA for over 15 years and have not found a good solution for on the boat. Wind noise is amplified to the point of being annoying and my fear of unintentioanly swimming with them makes me take them out while on board.

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Old 30-12-2016, 18:23   #39
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

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unintentioanly swimming with them makes me take them out while on board. Derick
Well I didn't swim with my cheap pair, but I did take a shower with them on. That let all the smoke out of them.
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Old 30-12-2016, 20:24   #40
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

I have worn phonak behind the ear for 6 years. Water proof (have forgoten to remove when checking prop). Has a button on each one to adjust volume, up right ear, down left ear. Blue tooth so I can hear the tv with out blasting my Wife out. Batteries last a week. Different programs so the wind noise can be filtered out. have sailed thousands of miles with them. The newer ones are better. go to a small shop with a good dr. They will handle several brands instead of a shop that only carries one brand. Check on discounts. You can find good ones (not the made for concert sound ones) in the $1500 a pair range
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Old 30-12-2016, 23:26   #41
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

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I have worn phonak behind the ear for 6 years. Water proof (have forgoten to remove when checking prop). Has a button on each one to adjust volume, up right ear, down left ear. Blue tooth so I can hear the tv with out blasting my Wife out. Batteries last a week. Different programs so the wind noise can be filtered out. have sailed thousands of miles with them. The newer ones are better. go to a small shop with a good dr. They will handle several brands instead of a shop that only carries one brand. Check on discounts. You can find good ones (not the made for concert sound ones) in the $1500 a pair range
Thank you for that captnknopf, it is heartening to read.

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Old 31-12-2016, 04:05   #42
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

I have tried the behind-the-ear Oticon but dicthed them in favour of in-the-ear by Widex of Siemens. the behind the ear give slightly better directional feel but the in-the-ear are so much less fuss and also less noticeable, if that matters to you. All the new ones can be programmed with different profiles, some will hold numerous sound profiles so you can switch (normal conversation/ traffic/ restaurant etc)but every one that i have had will suffer from wind noise and there is not much you can do about that apart from pull a beanie down over your ears which fixed the problem immediately. Yes the good ones are expensive. I paid 2 x $1,700 in the UK for my last pair.

Insurance: I also have mine insured for about $200/yr for the two of them. I find that about once every 18 months one of them needs to go in for a revision which is sometimes covered by the insurance. The in-the-ear become so comfortable that it is easy to forget you are wearing them and it is only AFTER you just dived off the boat that you realise you forgot to take them out! An expensive repair.

Overnight it is important to keep them in a small container with silica gell capsules to dry them out. The humidity is more of a problem in a marine environment than in a house, although i usually alternate and keep one in overnight so i can hear what is going on with the boat if there is a problem.

Best of luck.
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Old 31-12-2016, 04:34   #43
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Derfy, Is there a Costco near you. I went the "bloody fortune" way once and paid $5000 for a pair of non adjustable hearing aids. When they went bad and replacements were needed I shopped around. I bought my hearing aids at Costco for $1800 for the pair. They can be adjusted with your Iphone using an easily downloadable app. They also have a small button for a basic manual adjustment. They are behind the ear nearly invisible. Same thing as my $5000 ones and work better. They have a 2 year replacement warranty that includes if you lose them...which I did, within a week I had my replacement. I have not had a problem sailing with them. Including off shore, 35 knot winds, water over the deck and into the cockpit. I highly recommend!
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Old 31-12-2016, 04:49   #44
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

Costco is a wonderful store to purchase hearing aids. I am still on my first pair and there was a fair amount of corrosion in them after years of sailing and mistreatment. Costco did a new hearing exam, completely rebuilt my aids and gave me a ton of spare parts and a jar of Super Dry Aid and instructed me to store them each night in this stuff. All without paying so much as a dime after over 5 years. I can not recommend dealing with Costco any higher, they have done a wonderful job for me. They have excellent people, well trained and they sell great products rebranded at much lower prices, mine were Siemens.
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Old 31-12-2016, 05:09   #45
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Val, Al, & Malbow.
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