Discussion in 'Experienced Truckers' Advice' started by Krikkit, Oct 14, 2018.

  1. Krikkit

    Krikkit Bobtail Member

    Jul 9, 2017
    Charleston, IL
    My bf, age 59, 15+ years as otr driver, just failed the hearing test and has finally given in to the fact that he needs hearing aids. BUT, he has already gone through several different ones in the past several years and was unable to wear them due to the "wind noise". He does NOT hear normal conversational tones (especially people with higher pitched or childlike voices) AT ALL. His friends have to bellow at him and the tv has to be so loud I can hear it half a block away. He knew this was going to happen but put off doing anything about it til the last minute. So now here he is with 45 days (less actually) to get hearing aids and retest. Can anyone PLEASE share ANY advice or recommendations as to what hearing aids are preferred by drivers? Which ones have the least problem with the wind noise? Most comfortable? Easiest to deal with out on road? I found out about phonak/lyric aids on another forum but OMG the cost of the newer version of those is astronomical!! He is also not sure he wants to have the things stuck inside his ears 24/7. We live in rural Illinois and there are not many options around here as far as hearing specialists or clinics. Any advice is greatly appreciated!
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  3. Ridgeline

    Ridgeline Road Train Member

    Dec 18, 2011
    It may be a case where it isn't hearing loss but hearing difficulties and hearing aids do not help but hurt the situation. He needs to go to a specialists who can determine what is the best course of action, not to keep trying to find a solution by guessing.
    PE_T, magoo68, Krikkit and 3 others Thank this.
  4. x1Heavy

    x1Heavy Road Train Member

    Mar 5, 2016
    White County, Arkansas
    I am deaf. I spent a lifetime being deaf, then became a trucker at 21 when people told me deaf people do not go trucking period. With that said...

    Hearing under DOT rules has to be....

    500 hertz and 40 Db or better.

    1000 Hertz and 40 db or better.

    2000 hertz and 40 db or better.

    Your description fails to explain what form of loss this person has in his or her ears. Is this person only hearing high pitched? Or down low pitch? (Treble or Bass?) It's really important because the low air brake alarm for example in a big truck is 1000 Hertz at 40 Db or louder.

    You do not get to decide what model and make of hearing aid. Those are prescription only MATCHED to the EXACT Hearing Chart Generated by your hearing impaired person you are writing about. The Audiologist will know what to prescribe.

    To a limited extent there is a little room for preferences but generally prescribing a hearing aid for hearing (Or two) is determined strictly on what the results of the complete audiogram which includes....

    Left Ear.

    Right Ear.

    Word comprehension and what percentage caught out of a group of words.

    Unfortunately by putting off hearing aids so long, your physical structure inside the ear dies off. Literally. It goes bad. So post pone post pone post pone, deafer deafer deafer and deafer. Until a certain DB is reached that is called profound deafness again on the Audiologist chart where no hearing aid made will help at all.

    Hearing aids are expensive according to need. AND that person's hearing RANGE in hertz again by the audiology chart.

    In 1970 my first pair was behind the hear model from John Hopkins In Baltimore Maryland. 1000 dollars (Round 4000 in today's money) In 1984 my next set was 1500 for two. That lasted until 1990 2150 for two. 1998 here in Arkansas 2500 and again in 2006 for 3200. I expect a range between 4000 to 7000 for two if I needed prescription hearing aids now.

    My medicare insurance part C will pay as of today the bulk of whatever it costs, my cost is 860 flat. In Jan 1 2019 my copay becomes 2000 each. 4000 total. As a result of Congress forcing the people to pay more and government debt to be less.

    What do I do? Because my hearing range is 3600 hertz on down to 17 hertz (Bass tones and human voices etc) I wear a pair of 20 dollar Hearing aides from walmart. These use a 1970's behind the ear form, rechargeable battery, modern ear buds and a range of 3000 hertz to 100 hertz at 30 DB boost over anything coming in. They will tide me over until I purchase prescription hearing aids some day. But maybe never. I might not live that long to bother.

    Hearing aids in trucking.

    I use a single mold in each ear that fits inside the ear canal and comes out to fill the main part of the ear outside, it's all one peice and pretty bulky. Computer driven, hardly any windnoise unless it's 50 mph gale outside the truck HELLO! CAN YOU HEAR ME?! The computer compenstates. It also cuts off and becomes ear plugs automatically when I fire my Colt .45 at the range. KABOOOM becomes THUMP. I can do that all day long.

    The reason it is a single mold that fills the ear with everything inside is because when it's -55 outside in trucking with a 50 mph wind blasting you while fueling, your hearing aid has to keep working. Your body heat gives it a fighting chance. Otherwise it will freeze then crack and break. SNAP. That's that.

    Those are 3500 to start. A pair.

    I do not give a #### about appearances. I don't buy fancy hearing aides that are teeny tiny small hiding deep in the ear. I don't buy crappy hearing aids that take up alot of room behind the ear or any of that. The one exception again is walmart hearing aids for 20 dollars each. They have actually been doing pretty well when the goal is specifically for talking with my pain doctor clinic on appointments and so on. Voice and music is adequate but the quality sucks and it wont match the DOT chart due to weak 30 db boost I need about 50 DB boost over. That's why hearing aids are expensive for me.

    I don't do technology. Cell phone wireless adjusting, bluetooth etc. That's all BS and HOOEY. Unnecessarily FANCY. Toss it. Buy a pack of batteries, stick em in (Zinc air) and go.

    You can google search audiologist in your area specifically and it will come up with a listing of licensed audiologists capable of prescribing hearing aids, building molds for them (30 dollars each, very important to fit right) and so on.

    IT is VERY IMPORTANT for your family doctor to sign a form that the audiologist will GIVE you prescribing hearing aids to your person that is in need of it. Give that to the Audiologist and the taxes will be taken off you. So 3400 does not become 4200 dollars. Follow me?

    The GOP just recently repealed or is trying to repeal the medical device tax. Hearing aids are absolutely medical devices. ONCE you BUY THEM, and they FIT into that driver's EARS they CANNOT LEGALLY be sold to someone else or USED by anyone under FDA laws. Thus they are NON RETURNABLE. REPEAT NON RETURNABLE.

    DO NOT... whatever you do DO NOT pay attention to television advertising for haring aids like Miracle ear. Your professional Audiologist will know exactly what make and model NEEDED to FIT your DRIVER SPECIFICALLY to where HE or SHE will PASS a DOT exam at 500 hertz 40 db, 1000 hertz 40 db and 2000 hertz 40 db.

    IF.... that driver CANNOT BE FITTED with hearing aids and CANNOT PASS DOT audiologist chart to get a medical card then your driver is considered disabled by deafness. Go to the Social Seucrity Office with the audiogram form and documents as needed by them in about a year you will have that person issued either SSI (Deafness), SSdI (Disability because no longer able to medically continue driving based on lifetime income) and or Social security outright after 62.

    There is a form of hearing aids called Cochlear. It is a magnetic and computer harness implant against the bone of your ear itself. though a small hole removed from your skull in each ear. It's about 150,000 dollars each ear surgery and several months to retrain to use it somewhat. To this day I have never ever heard of or seen a trucker with Cochlear anywhere.

    There is another problem with Cochlear. Hearing parents think to install them into their deaf baby. They never think for a #### minute to wait a few years and ask that baby for a free choice, stay deaf or having a hearing forced against them against their free will. Remember for many deaf, it is not a limitation when God chooses to not allow that person to hear ever.

    A way of keeping a CDL is to go to the DMV, swearing out a Tier TWO document meaning you are NOT qualified to run Interstate, Intrastate commerce. HOWEVER....

    Under Tier two, you do NOT need a DOT medical card at all, and you CAN do FARM trucking or NATIONAL DISASTER trucking only. Plus a few other very limited trucking. Some states have Tiers three and four for their purposes.

    Being on the road? The worst thing with hearing aides is water in storms. Flood em, BOOM no more hearing aids. BUY NEW ONES. OR... send them back to audiologist and they will send to lab to be rebuilt IF POSSIBLE. YOU Sit home while waiting for rebuilt (*AFLAC)

    Another problem in trucking with hearing aids. Abuse. You pick up boxes all day int he trailer against your head on shoulders. BOOM destroyed hearing aids. (Usually because they tried to be fancy hide em cosmetic models. Not the beefy strong ones)

    A third BIG issue with hearing aids. MOUNTAINS. You climb 500 feet up in a few minutes MR POP in both ears. You drink water, coffee or swallow. POP your tubes in neck equalized the pressure. You climb that mountain some more now it starts to hurt. Smile and do not complain with the ice pick in ears. You keep drinking fluids and swallow. Pop pop pop pop over the mountain back down you go. Popping all the way down.

    IF there is ANY medical infection, illness, excessive mucus because you got sniffles cold or flu or whatever then your head will fix to explode because it cannot equalize on the mountain.

    This is a fine time for you family to go somewhere and LEARN Sign Langauge together. No more yelling. Blessed silence at home. Use captioning on Television. Etc. There is no excuse to scream, hollar or yell or lose your temper because someone is deaf. You two go learn sign language from a teacher and boom you will communciate well.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018
  5. x1Heavy

    x1Heavy Road Train Member

    Mar 5, 2016
    White County, Arkansas

    This is Audiologist professional time. Go to one. THEY will DECIDE what is possible or not. They will DEFINATELY know if it is not possible. OR MEDICALLY SAFE to have them. Or ... even use them at all. (Too deaf)

    You do not run around guessing on this too much depends on a professional audiologist. You can absolutely destroy, hurt or screw someone really really really bad by running around guessing.
    hagarcobra Thanks this.
  6. hagarcobra

    hagarcobra Medium Load Member

    May 24, 2013
    Fantastic post. Well done.
    Deadwood and magoo68 Thank this.
  7. dog-c

    dog-c Road Train Member

    May 30, 2011
    New York, NY
    I use audicus hearing aids

    I have my hearing test done by an audiologist and then send The audiogram. $1300 for two
    x1Heavy Thanks this.
  8. x1Heavy

    x1Heavy Road Train Member

    Mar 5, 2016
    White County, Arkansas
    That's nice. But is way better for the audiologist to custom fit to a person's specific ears, chart and so on in one visit. IF the chart says that it's possible to order a third party hearing aid and have it done, then great! Not everyone gets to do that.

    Once fitted it takes 2 weeks to a month particularly with molded to fit in the ears. It's way better than plastic ear buds etc. in so many practical ways. Once that person adapts they don't even know it's there.
  9. brysol01

    brysol01 Light Load Member

    Nov 2, 2009
    even with an Audiologist custom tuning it to your audiogram it takes some more fiddling as well for
    mine. Am 55 @ 500, 1000, 2000, and you are certainly correct about the custom molded ear buds . Is not
    just a slam dunk even when it is all paid for by industrial insurance , it has to be tweaked to each left and right ears
    x1Heavy Thanks this.
  10. x1Heavy

    x1Heavy Road Train Member

    Mar 5, 2016
    White County, Arkansas
    I had some coffee and time to consider my life as far as trucking specifically and deafness in particular.

    People could care less what I am if there is nothing in my ears. Should I have the floppy hearing aids in (The cheap 20 dollar ones...) kids come up and ask me what is that in your ear? (They always do) I tell them what is that in front of your eyes?

    OH.... then they smile and understand ears = hear well same as glasses = eyes see well.

    Now Adults. Not always accommodating. I was in my paving dump truck after disposing of 10 yards of dirt into some random person's land fixing to pull out carefully because his drive way is like a inch thick and not designed for the three axle Mack Superliner 500 loaded to the wood. He comes out and asks me what's the matter stupid? Can't you drive, get going. Turn those plugs on so you can hear me talk to you master. (Master referring to a child in the old colonial way, unfortunately I know about that)

    I don't remember too much but when I got my reality back I had three large people making sure I aint going no where protecting mr mouth and my boss explaining to him that I was being gentle on his one inch thick driveway so I don't destroy it. And that it's unnecessary to be stupid with words around me.

    It's nice to have friends on the job who care enough to make sure I don't do something stupid.

    Hearing aids bring out sometimes the worse in bosses, managers and those who cannot be bothered to deal with employees who might or might not hear em the first time. Turns into discrimination. You follow me?

    You can have a hearing aid without much deafness and people look at you different then act strangely.

    This is my one post about discrimination on appearances. I will say that I have reeducated trucking company bosses a time or two in my life time, and thus showed me that they are worth being loyal to and do a good job for. The rest can jump.
    VIDEODROME Thanks this.
  11. xsetra

    xsetra Road Train Member

    Aug 21, 2011
    Short term take test with hearing aid.
    Long term search,,, cochlear implant,,,
    I know a person 98 years old.
    Has one 15 years.
    Prior had aids since 30 yeArs old.
    No comparison. Bluetooth connectable.

    She was losing her ability to hear even With external hearing aids.

    Go visit an audiologist
    Good luck
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