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Old 14-12-2017, 03:51   #76
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

Great topic. I learned a lot here from all the posts. About a year ago I tried the Phonak, in the ear model. The audiologist made the mold and adjusted for them to fit and adjusted the sound. I had a 30 day trial and could return them if I didnít feel they worked out for me. Although they ďseemedĒ to help me hear better, especially conversation, I was seriously annoyed by hearing my own voice as if I was speaking from inside a tin can. Audiologist adjusted them with her computer program but this changed nothing as far as hearing my own tinny, echoed and amplified voice. As a result I returned them. Has anyone else experienced hearing their own voice echo as if speaking from a tin can?
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Old 14-12-2017, 04:51   #77
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

It sounds like (err, bad pun) you have a completely in the canal (CIC) model. I had a similar experience, hated the tinny sound and the occlusion effect. Switched to mini-BTE with open ear tips and love them. The open ear tips may not give you the gain (volume) you need, so need to talk through the options with the fitter. Recommend you switch to something that works otherwise they will become "drawer-ware" and you'll be missing out on life around you.
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Old 14-12-2017, 04:59   #78
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

My wife is an audiologist, so hearing aids and issues with different types and brands are topic I get to learn a lot about. I think that every state in the U.S. has a 30 day return policy. So, trying them and getting hearing aids to work right should be a low risk proposition. CICs do not tend to work as well as behind the ear aids. You should not be hearing yourself as described by the OP. Phonak, mentioned in the post is one of her most sold brands, but there is a Danish company (I'm thinking that we aren't suppose to push brands on this forum) she tends to prefer.
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Old 14-12-2017, 08:56   #79
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

For many years I had a pair of Wide CIC but was told I had reached the point where the CIC was already at its limit. So I changed to Phonak BTE and I was left wondering why I never changed to BTE before. Not only is sound quality better but you get more directional feel. Plus the batteries last about twice as long. As for sailing with them, I still struggle with the apparently unavoidable problem of wind noise. In the winter woolly hat pulled down over the ears solves it. No solution for warm weather.
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Old 14-12-2017, 09:25   #80
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

I spent big, got good gear but wind and engine noise make it impossible them underway.
And, Moisture is also a big problem, buy a dryer for your aids
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Old 14-12-2017, 12:58   #81
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

A friend of mine has used the in-ear kind for about five years. (Don't recall what brand, expensive ones.) She went in for a free checkup recently and was also shown the behind-ear model. Five years ago the big marketing push was "but they're tiny, and inconspicuous" and now the push is back to "behind the ear has so much better battery life, and better microphones, better directional".

It is hard to really believe anything coming from the last "medical" industry to have Congressionally protected huge mark-ups. (And yes, another friend's wife is an audiologist, the markups are real.)

But I would ask if part of the "tin can" problem is something that is actually very common. When most of us hear our own voice through a neutral audio playback, instead of just hearing it "in our heads" filtered by a lot of bone conduction...We're usually very surprised and ask "Do I really sound like that?!"

Try the BTE, or try a different brand and audiologist. There ARE some amazing differences, and ways the equipment can be tuned and personalized. But for understandable reasons...we're all reluctant to shop audiologists, since every one of them will bombard you with "Oy! Just for you! This week only! First 20 customers! 50% off!" junk mail for 20 years after the visit. They're worse than car dealers, when it comes of follow-up persecution.
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Old 14-12-2017, 13:23   #82
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

I suggest shopping around. Or, at least doing your research. An issue to keep in mind though is to be sure you are comparing apples and apples. An oticon product at Costco may be cheaper but it could be an older model. I am hearing that prices are softer than they use to be.

And....yes....Hellosailor, I agree that there are high pressure salespeople in the audiology profession just like any other. My opinion after hearing about all the issues every night during happy hour is that a Doctor of Audiology may be a better person to go to and if another provider hasn't gotten around to catching up professionally and getting the doctor cert., they may not be the best option. The details and stories I've heard are endless, so I will save you the pain. In some states people selling hearing aids only have to pass a simple test and may not know to look to see if there is a significant medical issue that needs more significant intervention. But, know your rights, like the required 30 day trial period that some people don't mention. and move on if the person doesn't work for you.
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Old 14-12-2017, 13:43   #83
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

fahtchas-
The audiologists, optometrists, pharmacists, and liquor stores found at Costco and other "club" stores, are all generally stated-licensed independent entities. And as such, they are actually open to the public, by law, no membership fee required. And, every one of them in independent.
The only relationship that Costco (etc) has with them, is they will say "OK, we expect our customers to receive a high standard of care at a low price, if we hear complaints about that, you're outta here. If you keep 'em happy, you gets lots of business at our location."

So, maybe they peddle old inventory. Or maybe they peddle brand new goods, because they have so much turnover. Consumer Reports was reporting on them recently, and concluded that Costco and other represent some of the best bargains in ear care.

FWIW.

That's why you need to buy the BIG bottle of sedatives, and then shop around.(G)
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Old 14-12-2017, 15:14   #84
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

I am going tomorrow for trial of BTE's. The audiologist is letting me try two different brands, Oticon and Widex, for the weekend. He thought it was interesting that I was willing to try two different brands to do a comparison. I am a runner, and was running with Apple earbuds, that don't totally seal of the ear canal. I was gifted wireless buds, but they sealed up my ear so it felt like I could hear each joint in my skeletal system make contact with each stride. After getting bitten by a dog that came up behind me, I switched to bone conductive head phones which leave my ear canal open so can hear more of what is going on around me. The open tip of the BTE's seemed, in the office, to not give you the sealed up feeling, and your own voice wasn't echoing in your head. I am willing to pay a little more for better service as far as getting them set correctly. As nirish said, they shouldn't become drawer ware. I will still have to really weigh out if it is worth hearing all the things I have missed, or just continue on guessing what people are saying.
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Old 15-12-2017, 06:19   #85
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

Thanks for that advice. Iím surprised the audiologist didnít point me in that direction and suggest a different model in order to save the sale. During my one month trial I found the battery life for this in the ear aid was extremely short. Also my hearing lose is only in the upper frequency range and not that profound. Conversation in a noisy restaurant is out of the question. The few times I tried them in that situation I found them slightly helpful but not a, Gee Wow type of reaction.
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Old 15-12-2017, 07:27   #86
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

Dear All,

Derfy here. I started this thread a year ago and am glad to see it is still active. It is hard to find untainted experiences about hear aids, so CF folks have come through again. Thanks to all.

As for my own experience, I am about 1 year into using behind-the-ear Audicus devices. My experience has been excellent.

They are strictly an on-line supplier. You must obtain an audiogram and then they provide a programmed device for a fraction of the price asked by local dispensers. These are real hearing aids manufactured by Hansaton in Germany. Full 16-channel devices with digital signal processing and digital noise reduction. Battery life is 1 week and batteries are cheap off the shelf types available anywhere.

It has been a life-changing experience to once again be able to understand what people are saying, particularly at work, during restaurant meals, and in auditoriums. Their bluetooth gadget is excellent also. I use it every day for phone calls, and watching tv in the evening.

But, alas, as a sailor, I can only report that wind noise is still a huge issue, particularly a headwind. The advice of using an old-fashioned navy watch cap is the best answer I have. I use a terry cloth headband in summer, sometimes. The other "gentlemanly" option is to simply not sail to weather. Just bear away and go somewhere else. ___/)___ Works for a while, but not for very long.

Usually I just do not wear them all when sailing or using the dinghy, to the frustration of my wife.

You definitely have to keep them dry. I will admit to having worn them once in the shower and just dried them out on a sunny window sill at home. I then sent them off for cleaning, and they survived just fine.

I would be very keen to know of a make/model that works well in wind.

Thanks again to all of your contributions.
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Old 15-12-2017, 07:32   #87
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

The audiologist should be able to program hearing aids so that you can hear a conversation in a noisy restaurant, and the battery life should be around two weeks in modern instruments. I wish you good luck on trying to resolve those issues.

I seem to have struck a raw nerve about Costco. One can get hearing aids there at a lower cost. Costco obviously works for a lot of people. The issue I was trying to address is that those hearing aids may not have the capabilities of a more expensive and newer generation product. Sometimes going economy works and sometimes a less expensive product just sits in a drawer.
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Old 15-12-2017, 09:33   #88
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

Derfy-
Are audiologists, ah, somewhat reluctant or outright insulted if you ask them for just an audiogram to mail off?

The big secret, I think, is that the hearing aid industry doesn't want to let anyone know that their big secret is really that some folks have taken the parametric equalizer (which was an expensive "shoebox" in the 80's in better home stereo systems) and shrunk it down to a single IC. Which is what the "16 channel" nonsense is now all about, it is just one side of the old stereo parametric equalizer, squeezed into one commodity grade IC that probably is made for under a buck. And then lovingly sold for five grand a pair, each one sitting in another five bucks worth of plastic, tubing, and assembly. Hmmm....

Supposedly Congress and the FDA passed some rule changes this summer, so "devices" that aren't "hearing aids" will be more available now as well. That could prove interesting.

If I can adjust the parametric equalizer (yes, there's one in the music software in every smartphone app) on my cell phone to make the music suit my taste and my particular earbuds, which do vary quite a bit...i damn well ought to be able to "tune" my own hearing aids to my own liking the same way. Despite all the dire warnings that that could actually make my head explode. (Same warning comes on headphones these days anyway.)
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Old 15-12-2017, 10:01   #89
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

That sounds like really old technology. Good luck with it.
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Old 15-12-2017, 11:38   #90
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Derfy-
Are audiologists, ah, somewhat reluctant or outright insulted if you ask them for just an audiogram to mail off?

The big secret, I think, is that the hearing aid industry doesn't want to let anyone know that their big secret is really that some folks have taken the parametric equalizer (which was an expensive "shoebox" in the 80's in better home stereo systems) and shrunk it down to a single IC. Which is what the "16 channel" nonsense is now all about, it is just one side of the old stereo parametric equalizer, squeezed into one commodity grade IC that probably is made for under a buck. And then lovingly sold for five grand a pair, each one sitting in another five bucks worth of plastic, tubing, and assembly. Hmmm....

Supposedly Congress and the FDA passed some rule changes this summer, so "devices" that aren't "hearing aids" will be more available now as well. That could prove interesting.

If I can adjust the parametric equalizer (yes, there's one in the music software in every smartphone app) on my cell phone to make the music suit my taste and my particular earbuds, which do vary quite a bit...i damn well ought to be able to "tune" my own hearing aids to my own liking the same way. Despite all the dire warnings that that could actually make my head explode. (Same warning comes on headphones these days anyway.)
My doctor referred me to an Ear/Nose/Throat specialist who ran the audiogram as part of an examination. You should expect to pay for this, or have your insurance pay. I had to ask for a copy of the results.

Audiograms run by dispensers of hearing aids are usually at no charge, but you are not entitled to keep the results. They are for the hear aid dispenser to use.

Modern hearing aids do frequency response equalization, but much more. Mine have a very low power radio link connecting the two hearing aids, that aggregate and dis-aggregate sound to enable both ears to receive sounds, which greatly enhances comprehension. This link is used to program the hearing aids and to enable bluetooth via a dongle worn on my neck.

They also have digital signal processors to handle dynamic range issues, and do frequency shifting (moving sounds from one frequency to another where I have better hearing sensitivity). Noise reduction is also done digitally. These are much more than equalized linear amplifiers. They are optimized for speech recognition. I do not like to use them when listening to music.
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