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Old 22-11-2009, 22:36   #16
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For those of us with well fitted and adjusted hearing aids the difference is between being able to continue in our professions - or not. It's hard to put a value on that. There are many things in this world that sell for far more than they cost to manufacture. The question is "what are they worth to the person needing them?" As pointed out earlier though, this is way off topic. In my experience the sea environment has no negative impact on hearing aids if normal care is taken. Mine last 4 to 5 years. I don't live aboard, but sail often and wear them in a variety of environments where they are exposed to high humidity.
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Old 23-11-2009, 01:19   #17
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Originally Posted by defjef View Post

Hearing women is more of a challenge than deep resonant male voices.
Thats a perfect range of hearing! Have a chat to your mates at the pub and not be able to hear the nagging. Bliss! Hope the beer is cold.
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Old 23-11-2009, 03:18   #18
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Mine last 4-5 years, as long as I remember to take them out when checking something below the waterline.
Dehumidifier is a must along with a little ziplock bag, as mentioned before, for sudden rains. I keep my old set on board as spares also, just as you would with glasses

As I sit, a swirling sea of passion gives it's poems in waves underneath me.
The whispers of the sun in my eyes, a silence within.
Rhythm of the surf, drums of the sea. Thoughts tumble and toss about the deep blue abyss inside me, where the love of you dwells.
I'm fighting currents to get back to you, listening to the flow of your liquid language as you beckon me, "Come Play"
Mariners Cove, CI. Anonymous.
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Old 23-11-2009, 09:05   #19
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Originally Posted by John A View Post
We seem to be straying from the main topic of this thread.

But I'm curious, what would you suggest for a person with a heredity hearing lose?
I can hear with hearing aids, I cannot without them.

I chose to ignore your opinion so that I may continue to hear.

I worked for 40 years in the health care industry writing computer programs to deal with hospital charges/billing and insurance claims, so yes, medical cost are a rip-off. If you don't think that Hospitals are a for profit industry then you've got your head in the sand.

kindest regards John
Asking for and then receiving a 'personal experience' is not 'straying from the topic' simply because the relayed personal experience is counter to your own proffered argument.

Nobody claimed that a person should discontinue use of hearing aids if they need them to hear. Hearing aids are a great invention, and the digitization and computer advances in the last 20-odd years have made the prospect of growing old and having one's faculties diminish, the not-so-fearful prospect that it once was. With that said, the problem in the hearing aid industry is exactly what another poster already stated, i.e. the industry is largely unregulated, it is apparently abundant with shady characters looking to sell seniors the least expensive equipment at the highest possible prices that they can extract from them, knowing full well that many, many seniors are gullible and/or trusting enough to believe whatever they are told while doing little to no research or comparison shopping on such items....that is to say, they're 'technophobes' by and large.

The bottom line is, unfortunately, one no longer 'gets what they paid for', but rather they 'get' the product that they either did no research on whatsoever so had no idea what that product was other than the bunk shoveled by the salesman peddling it, or they researched the product(s) extensively beforehand and educated themselves enough to know not only what they should be paying for said product(s) but also what exact technology they should be purchasing and exactly how much it should be costing, including the before/after sale 'servicing'.

It's much like purchasing a boat, in fact. You don't take the word of the broker/salesperson verbatim and simply plunk down whatever amount they are asking for. You do the research, consult the (independent) experts that don't have a financial stake in the deal, and make a decision based on knowledge and good judgment, and not sales hype and marketing.

I would be willing to bet that the high dissatisfaction rate of seniors and their hearing aids is not a consequence of the technology, but rather the consequences of being sold a bill of goods at a hugely inflated price with mediocre service resulting in ill-fitting and poorly functioning cheap products passed off as premium gear and/or decent fitting poorly functioning cheap devices passed off as quality gear.

There's no reason in the world other than greed and unscrupulous opportunists preying on a captive and largely ignorant market why decent hearing aids need to cost more than the average quality pair of eyeglasses, or around $400-$500 or so.

Hearing aids: How to choose the right one -

Hearing Aids [NIDCD Health Information]

To answer the original question....hearing aids, like other electronics, should be kept away from heat and moisture as much as possible to prolong their life.
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Old 23-11-2009, 09:41   #20
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Just for the record, the topic of this thread is, "Lifespan of Hearing Aids Around Salt Water".

All this conversation about profiteering, unscrupulous salesmen, etc., is off-topic, so let's try to keep on track, please.
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Old 23-11-2009, 10:33   #21
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Not going to wade into the matters addressed above, only going to give you my experience. Without hearing aids, I cannot function on a normal basis. Caught a bug in Uganda a few years ago that left me with a 40% hearing loss. Since I was working for the govt. at that time, they pay for my hearing aids. They buy new ones every five years, meaning that for me, cost is not the primary issue.

Hearing aids are manufactured by only three or four major companies. Regardless of where or from whom you buy them, they come from the same supplier and are identical internally.

Bought my last pair at Costco. Cost was approximately 50% of what identical aids would have been from my previous supplier. (Yes, I did check specific brand and features.) Costco uses licensed audiologist, just as other major providers do. The quality of care and follow up I have received from Costco is outstanding. When I checked on why their prices are so low, I learned the profit margin on hearing aids is zeroed out. They use hearing aids/products just as they use optical products, to get you into the store. (I can't walk throught the door without dropping a hundred bucks.) They also give you a free two year guarantee, including loss coverage.

Due to the extent of my loss, I cannot use the ones that fit completely in the ear canal. Changed from the older style, which fit into the external ear, to the ones that ride behind the ear and have a clear tube to the ear canal. I LOVE THEM. They are so much more confortable than the old ones that I often forget I have them on.

I wear mine on the boat at all times. Since I live aboard about 70% of the time, that is quite a bit. I religiously put them into the drying jar at night. So far, no problems.

Your mileage may vary.
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Old 23-11-2009, 12:04   #22
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I've worn aids and have been fitting them for almost 20 years. The company I work with has both brick and mortars stores and a website so we sell aids online and in person.

I mostly work on the website, email, and by telephone so I can cruise at least part time.

I'm happy to answer any questions or help any of the group here.

In a nutshell:
* Newer technology is much better than even a few years ago.
* The cost is easy to determine before you buy - PM me and I will tell you what we pay for them.
* When ever you get a hearing test insist on a copy of the results

H/As and sailing:
* Get ones with a wind noise manager
* Get a Dri-Aid jar and use it, they cost about $17 and last forever
* When the wind really pipes us and spray starts flying wrap a bandanna around you head over the aids, it will cut wind noise, keep the spray off, and lock them on your head

We have lots of informational articles on care and maintenance of hearing aids on the site and most accessories commonly needed.

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Old 22-02-2012, 12:23   #23
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Re: Lifespan of Hearing Aids Around Salt Water

Fortunately, a number of hearing aid manufacturers have just recently released fully waterproof models that work quite well. As usual, they still take a while to get used to, but are well-worthwhile. I have set up several racing and cruising boats with bluetooth systems that also circumvent the wind noise problem.
In the USA, there are two type of dispensers; hearing aid salespeople, or audiologists. You definitely need to see a Doctor of Audiology, as they are often less expensive and have a lot invested in maintaining integrity. They are more likely to unbundle to cost of the medical devices from their professional services.
The biggest scandal is that heath insurance companies in the USA have somehow managed to get away without reimbursing for these medical devices. In Northern Europe, Scandinavia, Australia & NZ, the government pays for them for most people.
The R&D programs for each model costs millions of dollars, and each model has a low production run and so very low economies of scale. The cost of FDA type approval and ongoing regulation is extremely high too, and to manufacture a medical device is a vastly complex and expensive process compared with mass-market consumer electronics. Most hearing aid companies are in Denmark or Switzerland, so the exchange rate certainly doesn't help the end user's plight.
An important perspective is that the cost comes down to only a few dollars per week over several years. The cost of marital dischord due to miscommunication is another consideration, especially while anchoring. As a parting word, just try to avoid having one hooked up and flung overboard by a flapping spinnaker sheet (don't ask how I know about that!)
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Old 22-02-2012, 13:09   #24
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Re: Lifespan of Hearing Aids Around Salt Water

It's human nature to turn your head sidewise to the wave that washes aboard. I always carried a ziplock bag to place mine in when it rained.
Some of the newer models that fit inside the ear canal are leased at $1500 a year (each) and you must return to the audiologists to exchange them at least once a month to replace with a new one that has a fresh battery.
The smaller the unit, the smaller the battery and the shorter tha battery life. There are several battery sizes, not normally stocked in most third world countries.
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Old 22-02-2012, 13:35   #25

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Re: Lifespan of Hearing Aids Around Salt Water

Hearing aids aren't a complete racket, but hearing aids and audiologists still occupy the niche that "eye doctors" held before discount eyeglasses and drugstore reading glasses slammed that market.

Yes, FDA compliance and other issues inflate prices radically, but essentailly ay $50 bluetooth earpiece with a $5 parametric equalizer chip in it will perform about the same as a $2000 "custom programmed" hearing aid, and as computers have changed os many other things, it would not be hard to write a self-serve software routine to help someone program their own.

There's a lot of fat cat in that business, and it is way overdue for a change. There just isn't a lot of technology, or innovation, or exotic material in a hearing aid, even the finest of them.

There IS a whole industry that wants to lobby the FDA and preserve their holy status and profit margin, but damn they have balls to claim their margins are justified. (And yes, I know from an audiologist just how sweet those margins can be.)
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Old 22-02-2012, 14:18   #26
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Originally Posted by hellosailor

There just isn't a lot of technology, or innovation, or exotic material in a hearing aid, even the finest of them.

As someone married to someone who needs hearing aids. There sure appears to be a difference. What are you basing your analysis on?
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Old 22-02-2012, 15:28   #27
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Re: Lifespan of Hearing Aids Around Salt Water

Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
There just isn't a lot of technology, or innovation, or exotic material in a hearing aid, even the finest of them.
I too would be inerested on what you base your cynical comments on.

First the fit. An impression is taken of each ear using a putty like material and sent to the factory where a computer controled device takes the impression and creates the body of the hearing aid to fit your hear and insure a comfortable snug fit that allows for no feed-back to occur. No two ears are shaped the same.

Next the reception. An ear piece is placed in the ear and computer genetated tones and pitches are directed to this ear piece. You are given a button to push when you first hear each sound. Based on the results of this test, your hearing loss is identified and it is determined which type of hearing aid is best suited for you and the strength and parmanitors of the computer program that will be loaded into the circut board within the hearing aid are identified.

Once the finished product has been assembled and insurted in your ear, final testing can revel suttle changes that can be made to the hearing aids computer by attaching a device to the battery housing of the hearing aid and the computer makes adjustments to the hearing aids computer. If your hearing should change, adjustments can be made so replacement is not needed.

My hearing aids have a switch to control reception of crowd noise by using two microphones. There is also a volumn control
My hearing aids cost $680 each and I purchased then in June of 2009. So far I've had two maintence issues which have been corrected at no charge. Ive' worn hearing aids since the mid '80's.
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Old 24-02-2012, 19:23   #28
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The real shame is that according to my hearing audiologist, it would only cost about 50 cents a week to add hearing devices to the average US based insurance policy. And she indicates that more people need them than most people believe.

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Old 24-02-2012, 21:35   #29
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Re: Lifespan of Hearing Aids Around Salt Water

Several insurance policys cover hearing aids. Usually they are included in union contracts, especially government service types and if you can prove they're work related your covered. I know several retired policeman who have them. .

Things that insurance companies should or should not cover seems to be a hot button item right now. So we shouldn't go there.
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Old 24-02-2012, 22:28   #30
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Re: Lifespan of Hearing Aids Around Salt Water

Avast shipmates! I use a "waterproof" hearing aid, have worn it when diving under sea water by forgetting it was on. Still worked ok, has been drenched in downpours, no problem, buy them from china online to replace my $2000 UAD name brand for $120 USD. Resound match hearing aids, store them in a container with silica gell after use each day. Have 3, which have not failed yet, in 18 months.
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