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bobgessner57
02-14-2016, 14:40
I was diagnosed with a moderate hearing loss in both ears this week and now am full of questions about hearing aids. I would be interested in any input from users with experience, particularly on longer trips. I like to winter hike (battery life? do you keep them in your sleeping bag at night?) and am a heavy sweater in hot weather. What about rain? I tend to just get wet if hiking in warm weather, would I need to rethink headgear to protect the ears? Do you clean the aids daily or wait for town stops? If you have any input on the utility or ease of care and practicality of various types of aids for people that live a grubby lifestyle it would help me focus my research and budgeting. When not hiking I farm and do masonry chimney restoration so the aids will be subjected to a lot of grit grime and moisture all of the time, just like when hiking.

Thanks for any info. There is a bewildering amount of internet info on this subject but most seems to be from people that want to push their product.

Slo-go'en
02-14-2016, 15:40
Since you only have moderate hearing loss, I would think only using them when you need them (like while having a conversation with someone or a group while sitting around the campfire) would be the thing to do. Earplugs might be a better idea when your working with farm machinery or doing masonry to help to prevent farther hearing loss.

peakbagger
02-14-2016, 17:17
One of the local hiking "legends" had pretty serious hearing loss and in winter could not use his aids as the sweat would short them out. He finally got some sealed ones that had a remote for setting. He had nothing bad to say about them and made hiking with him a lot more enjoyable. I would definitely ask about waterproofness of anything you look at.

Traillium
02-14-2016, 17:29
I've been wearing hearing aids for over a decade and a half and should have been wearing them for a long time before that. I have a -65db high frequency loss, symmetrical in both sides. I'm lost without my hearing aids in day-to-day life, missing far too much of consonants to understand all but the clearest speech.
I have always worn high-end Phonak aids and loved them. Well worth the (huge) expense. I treat them very carefully, carrying s drying jar for nighttimes. (I open the battery gates, but leave the batteries in.)
I'm taking my hearing aids on my 40-day Bruce Trail hike, just as I've taken them before on wilderness paddling trips.
I almost always wear a broad-brimmed Tilley hat for my bald head and my hearing aids. In real downpours, I take out my hearing aids and put them into my drying jar.
I carry a supply of fresh batteries. Two for every four days my aids have huge computational capabilities. I also carry spare wax guards, which I expect to replace with every battery change, given that I'll be sweating
I should add that my aids are in-the-ear. I have used a behind-the-ear version, but I much prefer my present style: more protected, and produce better hearing by far.
Even though I'm expecting to be alone most of the time on the Bruce Trail and therefore not in conversation often, I'm taking my aids because I want to do a bird census along the way (in addition to my on-going flowering count, botanist that I am). Birding is at least as much an auditory experience as a visual one.


Bruce Traillium

Traillium
02-14-2016, 17:31
BTW, you'll really appreciate good hearing aids. And most people seldom value cheap ones.


Bruce Traillium

bobgessner57
02-14-2016, 19:33
BTW, you'll really appreciate good hearing aids. And most people seldom value cheap ones.


Bruce Traillium
That is usually the case. I find I've got a beer budget and champagne taste so I'm going to try and find the sweet spot on cost and satisfaction. I also need to look at how any aid will work with comfortable hearing protection. For the last 30 years I have mostly been using plugs to get away from the heat of muffs.
Thanks for all the suggestions. Traillium I also value hearing the birds and other natural sounds. I am at the point where I am generally ok with one on one face to face conversations but have difficulty in crowds or with a lot of ambient noise and can't hear on a phone if not in a quiet place. I know I am missing natural sounds and have had some misunderstandings due to not correctly hearing things.
Both ears are 40-45 db loss above 1,500 hz, only 20 -25 db below, enough to be concerned about but I do have some time to figure this out.

Thanks for all the replies

Traillium
02-14-2016, 20:00
I am at the point where I am generally ok with one on one face to face conversations but have difficulty in crowds or with a lot of ambient noise and can't hear on a phone if not in a quiet place. I know I am missing natural sounds and have had some misunderstandings due to not correctly hearing things.
Both ears are 40-45 db loss above 1,500 hz, only 20 -25 db below, enough to be concerned about but I do have some time to figure this out.

I wear my hearing aids from the moment I awake until I go to bed at night. I now realize how much I foolishly rationalized against needing them, and how much talk I missed, and how much I alienated others who often gave up trying to communicate with me.
My experience out in the natural world are also much richer now that I can hear more completely. That's why, even hiking solo, I'm taking my hearing aids.


Bruce Traillium

Traillium
02-14-2016, 20:04
BTW, when I use hearing protection, I remove my hearing aids. One or the other, not both.
For windy situations, I have a headband made of windproof fleece. Or I remove my hearing aids Wind is the worst.


Bruce Traillium

Feral Bill
02-14-2016, 20:36
I also wear aids all the time. See Costco for good value on them, and especially on batteries. You will probably find them easy to live with. A small box for evening and a minimal cleaning kit works, depending on your ear wax production. Mine use the red tab batteries, which last a week or ten days, easily. And don't worry about cold, they are nice and snug, in or behind your ears. For behind the ears style, bring spare tubes. You might consider the advantages of taking them out when you don't want to hear. When my co workers get into "girl talk" it helps.

Mountain Bluebird
02-14-2016, 22:06
A hearty +1 for all Traillium's posts above. I have worn Oticon hearing aids now for about 6 years. I have a 55dB loss in both ears. They really do help in chatting with folks. With my hearing aids on I can hear the entire 'song' of the Black-throated Green Warbler! Without them I only get the last three buzzies.

As far as care: I do not wear aids while working outside and sweating. Moisture can enter the Oticon Intigas that I have behind the ear. Nor when I'm on the garden tractor with ear muffs on. If I start to sweat on the trail, I will take them off.

Otherwise, I care for them just as Traillium says.

I will do a section hike this summer--my first. I certainly will take my aids.
Hope this helps.

"You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways." Psalm 139

Traillium
02-14-2016, 23:16
Thanks, Mountain Bluebird.
You're lucky! Without my hearing aids I don't hear Black-Throated Greens at all
FWIW, I find my in-the-ear Phonaks more sweat-resistant than my former behind-the-ear Phonaks.
I do swab out my ears daily with Qtips with my audiologist's approval. It really minimizes the wax-plugging.


Bruce Traillium

bobgessner57
02-15-2016, 00:00
Lots of good tips here. When Traillium was writing his first posts I was actually out doing an exercise walk on my farm and jumped 4 American Woodcock, a first sighting for this place. I couldn't hear the wings and barely heard the song as each took flight. I was within 15 feet of them, too. It kind of pointed out what I am missing.

The sweat/moisture thing has me concerned. I can not wear them around the farm when haying or doing other really dirty or sweaty tasks but my non farm job often gets me very dirty and sweaty and I have to communicate throughout the day with clients, my partner, or other contractors. It doesn't seem very practical to have to slip them on and off. My preference would be to wear them most of the time and only remove or maybe turn off when hearing protection is needed. So, are the remote controls practical and if I do go with an in the canal version is the small size a potential problem? I am thinking about fumbling/dropping it on a job site or in the leaves in the woods.

I like the earband idea, does double duty as a wind sock and warmth.

Traillium
02-15-2016, 12:07
I have a remote that I wear around my neck. Useful but clunky and it's not coming in my thruhike (even though I will lose several features).
In my experience, in-the-ear are much more protected from everything: sweat, dust, abrasion, rain, wind


Bruce Traillium

Traillium
02-15-2016, 12:08
You could wear a cotton terry headband in dirty situations. It would also help with sweat


Bruce Traillium

Traillium
02-15-2016, 12:10
My in-the-ears have never fallen or been bumped out.


Bruce Traillium

zelph
02-15-2016, 20:34
I've had extensive experience with behind the ear aids and recommend the "sock" for moisture protection.

hearing aid sock

https://www.google.com/search?q=hearing+aid+sock&biw=1292&bih=605&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwikwPblg_vKAhXLKB4KHTdRCXcQsAQILQ

Feral Bill
02-15-2016, 21:45
I've had extensive experience with behind the ear aids and recommend the "sock" for moisture protection.

hearing aid sock

https://www.google.com/search?q=hearing+aid+sock&biw=1292&bih=605&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwikwPblg_vKAhXLKB4KHTdRCXcQsAQILQ

Now that's some information I can use!:)

zelph
02-16-2016, 19:14
Now that's some information I can use!:)

Ahhhh, glad to hear that :-)

Now I'll see if I can get a link to a rain sock for yah :-)

zelph
02-16-2016, 19:26
Hear it is.....Ear Gear

http://www.gearforears.com/

bobgessner57
02-17-2016, 00:04
who would have thunk it- gaiters for hearing aids. you can even color coordinate with the Dirty Girls. Thanks Zelph, I was wondering if something like that was feasible. The real question is how many grams per pair?

Seriously, thanks everyone for all the replies to this thread.

A friend that does long distance sailing says he uses a small silica gel bead drying jar and has had great success keeping his aids dry during month long ocean trips by storing them in the jar at night. The beads change color when they get saturated and can be redried but he says he has never had to redry them on a voyage. That sounds like a good idea for a section or thru hiker.

Traillium
02-17-2016, 00:19
A friend that does long distance sailing says he uses a small silica gel bead drying jar and has had great success keeping his aids dry during month long ocean trips by storing them in the jar at night. The beads change color when they get saturated and can be redried but he says he has never had to redry them on a voyage. That sounds like a good idea for a section or thru hiker.

A drying jar is an essential. I am taking some of the pellets of my regular jar I use nightly, and making a smaller drying jar in the smallest Nalgene jar I can find. My thousands of dollars of investment in my hearing aids is worth protecting!

Socks and gaiters for a behind-the-ear look impressive but in-the-ears don't require either. (Sorry, but I will never go back to having my hearing aids flopping outside my head.)


Bruce Traillium

bobgessner57
02-17-2016, 00:52
A drying jar is an essential. I am taking some of the pellets of my regular jar I use nightly, and making a smaller drying jar in the smallest Nalgene jar I can find. My thousands of dollars of investment in my hearing aids is worth protecting!

Socks and gaiters for a behind-the-ear look impressive but in-the-ears don't require either. (Sorry, but I will never go back to having my hearing aids flopping outside my head.)


Bruce Traillium

I have had good luck finding small durable wide mouth plastic containers in the WalMart pharmacy where they keep the travel size shampoos and toothpaste, etc.

I like the dessicant jar idea better than the little electric heating pad drier I had seen. I'm new to this and thought a lot of people went the electric route at home.

FWIW my sailor friend now has in the ear aids and feels they are much more resistant to the problems he has to contend with including salt spray.

Traillium
02-17-2016, 08:33
I have had good luck finding small durable wide mouth plastic containers in the WalMart pharmacy where they keep the travel size shampoos and toothpaste, etc.

Great suggestion! I tend to stay away from Walmart because I dislike the way they gut small local businesses but very so often I cave.


Bruce Traillium

zelph
02-17-2016, 11:41
Socks and gaiters for a behind-the-ear look impressive — but in-the-ears don't require either. (Sorry, but I will never go back to having my hearing aids flopping outside my head.)

Bruce Traillium

In another 5 years you might have to change your aids to meet the need. When I turned 70 I had to have an implant or else I could not hear the woodpeckers peckering or the loons looning and also hear the canister stoves off in the distance LOL

Traillium
02-17-2016, 11:58
In another 5 years you might have to change your aids to meet the need. When I turned 70 I had to have an implant or else I could not hear the woodpeckers peckering or the loons looning and also hear the canister stoves off in the distance LOL

Love the canister stoves remark, Zelph!!! (I'm also an alcohol stove user partly because of the lack of unnecessary noise I might be able to hear warblers while cooking!)

Implant? Wow!! And you're satisfied with it? Wow!

(My hearing loss probably dates back to a viral infection when I was 3yrs old, and has remained relatively steady over the last two decades, particularly once I got my Type 2 diabetes under control through walking and hiking! My rough prediction is that I'll be able to keep hearing aids for the rest of my life.)

Implants! I'm impressed!


Bruce Traillium

zelph
02-17-2016, 21:13
My hearing loss is related to my service in the armed forces. Too close to tanks when they were firing, had no ear protection.

I'm well pleased with my hearing ability since the implant 1.5 years ago. The operation was easy, just an over night stay in the hospital...easy peasy! I had it done in my right ear. My left ear has an aid and I'm probably at 35-40 percent word recognition. the implant amplifies the nice noise of a canister to an unpleasant roarrrrrr

SIMPLE MAN
02-17-2016, 22:54
I am about 50-70 left to right .Barely hear anything in the right ear.I have Phonaks.Though not perfect my wife thought they were little miracles.I sleep with one in at night .It uses up a battery quicker but I like to hear if the dogs bark.A few times I've forgotten to take them off in the shower and they survived though I wouldn't recommend jumping in the pool. Main thing is to clean out the moisture and make sure they fit right.They shouldn't fall out during any activity.

Dochartaigh
02-19-2016, 17:03
Siemens hearing aids (now branded "Signia") have tons of BTE (Behind-the-Ear) models both IP67 and IP68 rated (those "IP" ratings are a universal standard rating system on how water/sweat/dirt/dust/humidity-resistant electronic devices are). I would not trust ITE (In-the-Ear) hearing instruments in wet or super-humid conditions day in day out during the duration of a thru hike – simply because most of them aren't designed for that and they commonly have vents in them which lead right into the hearing aid itself (or at least right next to the sensitive electronics inside).

Many people vastly prefer BTE hearing aids for comfort as well. They have soft and flexible domes on the end of the tube which fits inside your ear, no occlusion effect (which is basically sound bouncing between the ITE hearing aid and your eardrum) with the right dome, and again, are the most resilient to water/sweat/dirt/etc.

Like others have said, these things are not cheap by any means. By the best you can afford - this is really one of the areas of your life where you want to spend the money to better your health. Hearing loss has been linked to everything from depression, heart disease, dementia, diabetes, etc. I would also suggest you get fitted by an actual Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) and NOT simply a Hearing Aid Dispenser (the most basic difference is 2 years of school vs. 8 years for an Au.D.).

theoilman
02-19-2016, 18:30
I guess I'm lucky - my bad ear is 65db down, my 'good' one is only 25db down, I get by with only one in my bad ear. When hiking I leave it at home, taking no chances with it. At night if I sleep with my good ear down, I don't hear snorers.

Drybones
02-20-2016, 17:46
I carry a small plastic container with a screw on lid in my hip belt, if I start sweating too badly (often...make that always) I put my hearing aids in it and also use the container to store them in at night. The new hearing aids I have are supposed to be waterproof but I still remove them when sweating hard.

MountainSurfer
02-20-2016, 20:02
I'm like Traillium (http://whiteblaze.net/forum/member.php/61080-Traillium) I have a 65db loss and a long time user of HAs as well and have had both BTEs, ITE, and CICs. My hearing aid dealer is hard of hearing just like me and he was able to fit my loss with an almost completely in the ear HA. I found this works best for me because I'm very active outdoors. Since they are in my ears, they are sheltered from the sweat and light rain, and plus there's no issue with wearing sunglasses or a hat that might bump up against a BTE type. When I go on my 5 day section hikes on the AT each year, I bring an empty prescription bottle that seals well and keep a packet of silica-gel inside. I am not comfortable with sleeping on the trail with no hearing so I trade off by keeping one in one ear and dry the other out in my makeshift dry aid kit overnight. I also bring extra wax screen tips and change them out as needed. So far this process has worked well for me. If you're able to pack enough power in an ITE or CIC for your level of loss then I would suggest going with that since it's easier to keep clean on the trail or outdoors in general IMHO. Best of luck to you!!

Traillium
02-20-2016, 23:39
+1 What Mountain Surfer says.


Bruce Traillium

zelph
02-21-2016, 10:15
If a person sweats a lot while hiking then a behind the ear is a better option. The use of a "sock" will prevent moisture from getting into the battery compartment and other openings.

Any king of in the ear will be drowned with perspiration

MountainSurfer
02-21-2016, 12:28
[QUOTE=zelph;2044170]If a person sweats a lot while hiking then a behind the ear is a better option. The use of a "sock" will prevent moisture from getting into the battery compartment and other openings.

One of the major drawbacks I ran into with BTEs in humid conditions is the condensation that builds up in the tube between the hearing aid and the ear mold. Although I've never tried a sock, I don't think it will help with this specific problem. With an ITE or CIC, I never have this issue. Condensation build up in the tubing makes everything sound muffled and clearing can be a hassle. In drier climates though this won't be an issue.

zelph
02-21-2016, 12:31
[QUOTE=zelph;2044170]If a person sweats a lot while hiking then a behind the ear is a better option. The use of a "sock" will prevent moisture from getting into the battery compartment and other openings.

One of the major drawbacks I ran into with BTEs in humid conditions is the condensation that builds up in the tube between the hearing aid and the ear mold. Although I've never tried a sock, I don't think it will help with this specific problem. With an ITE or CIC, I never have this issue. Condensation build up in the tubing makes everything sound muffled and clearing can be a hassle. In drier climates though this won't be an issue.

I agree. To remove condensation, unscrew from aid and blow it out or use an empty eye drops container as a means of blowing some air through the tube.

Dochartaigh
02-21-2016, 17:29
And In-The-Ear models use every square mm of space to fit the components inside the smallest ITE you can get away with - there's simply no room for waterproof gaskets around the hearing aid shell, around the volume control, around the push-button (if your ITE's are so equipped), etc. They're NOT a good solution for athletic activities IMO.

For the tube itself, there is only the possibility of moisture on the hollow type of tube which is usually only used on higher power (or less expensive) models. With the hearing loss the OP described (again, I'm not an Au.D.), he would be fine with a RIC (which is still a BTE/Behind-The-Ear model - the "RIC" stands for Receiver-In-the-Canal; this means the tube is not hollow but is a wire. The end of the tube that goes in your ear is the actual receiver so no moisture problems on this type which is what most good Au.D.'s I think would suggest for this type of activity. Again, go and see a GOOD Au.D. Audiologist to get squared away.

bobgessner57
02-23-2016, 14:01
Thanks to everybody that has posted on this thread. Lots of good info on the practicality of various types of aids and also how to work with them on the trail. I am feeling good about them not preventing me from putting in some good miles. I have an Au.D that also backpacks so between her advice and the tips here I should be able to find something satisfactory.

Traillium
02-23-2016, 16:39
I'd love to know what your backpacking Au.D. recommends!


Bruce Traillium

bobgessner57
02-23-2016, 19:14
I'd love to know what your backpacking Au.D. recommends!


Bruce Traillium

I will be sure to do so but it may be a few months before I go back. I need to juggle the budget after I see what I owe in taxes and leave some hiking money in place!

Traillium
02-23-2016, 19:15
Ah yes! Money does have some say, eh?


Bruce Traillium