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Old 29-12-2016, 08:02   #1
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Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

I am in the process of getting fitted for my first hearing aids, having lost significant hearing in both ears in the mid- and upper-frequency ranges.
Both ears are bad; the left ear is really bad.

It is really hard to evaluate these devices, and they cost a bloody fortune. They all claim to be the best.

I am prepared to spend whatever it takes, but need a good device that works while sailing and cruising. I am just wondering if a "good device" exists for sailors.

I am interested in all situations... On deck in the wind, using the radio, at anchor, in the dinghy, in noisy crowds and restaurants, etc.

I don't trust any of the so-called reviews I find on the web, so I am appealing to this forum for help. I am always impressed by the opinions and experiences found here. Thanks in advance for your responses.
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Old 29-12-2016, 12:57   #2
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

Hi, derfy,

I tried some, and for me, my hearing loss is mainly high frequency. Wind noise, water noise, rain, water sloshing in the water tanks all are mostly there, too, so my aids amplified that sound along with Jim's voice. So not a happy result. Mine also were not adjustable, except by taking them in and having a computer modify them. Bad idea.

We had a long term guest who was able, using a small screwdriver, to boost and diminish high, medium, and low, separately. They cost a small fortune, but he was able to converse normally and hear as if normally.

Therefore, I would pursue the "costs a bloody fortune" option, that you can adjust independently. You will also want to develop hand signals for communications from the helm to the bow and back, if you sail with crew. You will need them when you can't wear the aids--they cannot be waterproof, because the sound needs to get out, so they have to have an air passage.

You cannot use them swimming or in the shower or in heavy weather, but, they're wonderful if you want to just converse when it's pretty quiet.

You asked about radio use, if the signal is clean, no worries, but with distortion, my aids did not help me, but our friend's did, because he could adjust them to blank the interference, enough to be able to make out the meanings. Mine just made everything louder, phooey on that!

Good luck with it, I wish you better success than I had, for d--n sure.

Ann
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Old 29-12-2016, 15:03   #3
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

I am real sure that you can try them too and find some that work for you.
At least you can here and I assume that is the norm.
I think the average person goes through a few before they find some that work.
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Old 29-12-2016, 15:16   #4
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

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.
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Old 29-12-2016, 15:22   #5
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

My wife uses hearing aides and was the one who inspired my daughter to become a AuD or doctor of audiology. So while I do not use them, I am fairly knowledgeable.

Some of the high end hearing aides can be reprogrammed remotely. Don't go to a cheapo place. Locate someone who is an AuD. Some of the new hearing aides are Bluetooth so they can link to radios, etc. it may be possible for the audiologist to get you the program to allow you to reprogram the hearing aides.

Feel free to message me back channel
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Old 29-12-2016, 17:01   #6
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

I've been fighting with hearing issues for a few years. The BIG problem for me is discernment. Just making the noise louder is not helpful. I tried Starkey in the ear aids thinking that they would be more protected from the weather than behind the ear types. seriously expensive and 4 years ago they were not able to be controlled (very well) with my phone. Still had issues with wind noise and other noise that interfered with the understanding. "Turn the volume up so I don't have to yell." I answered the volume is up, if you want me to understand you you must make the effort to speak clearly and not mumble. After crushing one of the in the ear canal aids. (Hey, stuff happens!) I went with a new less expensive behind the ear aid that is also a Starkey. My new aids are controlled with an app on my iPhone and I have volume control and several programs for different types of noisy environments that are quickly and easily changed. The behind the ear type also has a larger battery that lasts much longer and is easier to deal with for old stiff fingers. I haven't talked with anyone who thinks the problem of a windy day on deck has been solved. In those conditions I either leave it below or wear it in mute mode.

One feature that I didn't expect to like as much as I do is the Blue Tooth connection. I insisted that I be able to control these with blue tooth but new aids transmit audio directly to my hearing aid. Not only does this make dealing with the cell phone much easier but I can also listen to music stored on the phone this way.

I have no affiliation with Starkey other than being a satisfied customer.
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Old 29-12-2016, 18:07   #7
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

My experience is that the more advanced and current models have multiple channels and each one can be boasted or attenuated. Well and good.

The problem is that you need to try them in various conditions to know how well they are adjusted. The adjustment is not something the user does. So you go to the audiologist and (s)he... fiddles with the gain on the channels and then asks you.... Is this better? How the eff can you tell without getting into difficult hearing situations????????? You can't. Hearing aids amplify NOISE and this makes content discrimination impossible. They are useless if you think you can converse in a noisy restaurant.

Although they claim they can reject / suppress noise and boast content... that is pure rubbish. A hearing aid is a mini PA system in your ear. It's your brain that does the DISCRIMINATION and attenuates noise.

They are better than nothing... but they DO NOT restore hearing. PERIOD. NOT EVEN CLOSE.

The hearing aid industry is a "scam"... They are wildly overpriced... have a captive audience which get no support from insurance providers. The retailer/audiologists are well meaning.... but don't have much to work with.
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Old 29-12-2016, 19:09   #8
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

I have Phonak hearing aids supplied as part of military disability by the VA. I was told they cost $6000 a pair, are behind the ear with a small tube and plug in the ear canal. I have ringing and high frequency loss. My hearing test, a little past mid-level, looks like a cliff. The aids can be adjusted (by a tech) and have an adjustable curve that looks like a HP curve and can match your hearing needs. They help in places like theaters or lectures. Maybe in a group of people. They help high pitched voices for me.
I live on my boat and am usually in the wind. In blustery wind or driving with the window down it sounds like a gieger counter at ground zero. They can adjust that out, but it seems to lose the sounds I don't hear well. So I stay with the gieger counter and don't usually wear them underweigh.
I do hear whistles, bells and the usual marine sounds ok w/o the aids. My radios, tv, etc., have a volume knob, I live alone so no problem unless I have people on board. Then sometimes I wear the aids.
If you're married and your wife thinks hearing aids are the magic answer, she's going to be disappointed. That isn't hearing loss, it's listening loss and uncorrectable in most men.
The bottom line for me is, if I was spending the 6 grand, I'd buy something for the boat.
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Old 29-12-2016, 20:00   #9
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

As the spouse of someone with a hearing loss--- BUY THE F'N things!!!!

It has saved our marriage. When she decides not to wear them (just wants a break), I have to adjust my speaking volume so she can hear me. Before hearing aides, too many times she used to "assume"'she knew what I said and we had disagreements.

If you are getting top shelf hearing aides and they are not working it is the audiologist. My father used to get his from the VA. Modern hearing aides are more than a PA system.

Be sure to go to someone who is an AuD (3 years post grad and internship in a clinic) and not a MS (a Masters Degree) who does hearing aides. There is a big difference in the education and skill sets.

Oh yeah-- hearing loss is progressive. SO SOONER OR LATER YOU WILL NEED THEM.
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Old 29-12-2016, 20:09   #10
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandero View Post
The problem is that you need to try them in various conditions to know how well they are adjusted. The adjustment is not something the user does. So you go to the audiologist and (s)he... fiddles with the gain on the channels and then asks you.... Is this better? How the eff can you tell without getting into difficult hearing situations????????? You can't.
No kidding. My audiologist says the same thing. In a perfectly quiet office. Hello? Can I get a test with some noise going on?

If it was up to me, I'd buy a hearing aid that had a USER CONTROLLABLE white noise generator and a graphic equalizer/gain setting setup !

How hard is that for someone to sell?

Oh, yeah, I forgot about all the gummint regulations which "prevent users from personal injury" by experiencing and employing personal LIBERTY !

The Ipod tells me "do you really want to turn up the volume that high?" or similar. Argh. HELL YES ! I'm almost DEAF !!!!!!

But Steve, tell us what you really think....
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Old 29-12-2016, 22:05   #11
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

Luckily I single hand most of the time. Being a low budget, well OK, really a no budget cruiser, I get the best $100 hearing aids that Ebay has. Mind you I hardly wear the thing. Too much noise. I like it quiet .
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Old 29-12-2016, 22:34   #12
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

1. waterproof hearing aidSiemens Aquarius. Expensive.


2. an alternative to a hearing aid:
- a plug-in directional microphone (try a Shure Motiv MV88); inserted into
- an iPhone, equipped with
- the Jacoti ListenApp (see jacoti.com/listenapp), and
- good earphones.


The deal being that an iPhone (and some of the Android competition) has excellent audio specs. The Jacoti Listenapp does separate L R signal processing, supports other apps on the iPhone, etc. You can start with settings from an audiologist and then modify them to suit yourself and your own environment.
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Old 29-12-2016, 23:30   #13
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

Does anyone know about Oticon
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Old 30-12-2016, 03:55   #14
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

I wonder when Apple or Google will build devices with a reasonable cost.
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Old 30-12-2016, 08:20   #15
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Re: Hearing Aids for the cruising sailor?

I've had deaf relatives and recognize in others (sometimes when they don't fully realize it themselves) the beginnings of hearing loss. As my peers are past 50 and a lot of them include musicians, it's distressingly common.

I've kept care of my ears (plugs at concerts, etc.) and have no loss, according to my audiologist...I just have a wife and son who mumble.

But if there's a genetic component to deafness, I might lose some hearing soon. Can anyone comment on whether or not the sea air can corrode the rather delicate components of hearing aids and has anyone ever heard of "marinizing" them?
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