Week 7 - Day 6 - 853 days remaining

Posted on: Sat, 2019/05/25 - 21:48 By: kevin.klop

Due to the various indignities I perpetrated on myself in my youth, I was at that point in life where I found myself asking people to please repeat themselves as I didn't catch it the first time, or else turning to my wife and asking her what the other person had said.  Eventually she grew tired of it and more or less dragged me off to get my hearing tested and, as you might imagine, the test came back as hearing loss.  More specifically, hearing loss in those frequencies that make speech intelligible.

I'm not deaf by any stretch, but I do sometimes have difficulty following what other people are saying to me.  This is, obviously, worse in noisy environments or when more than one person is speaking to me at the same time.  To assist in this, I do have hearing aids, and I wear them probably about 60% of the time.  And that brings us back to the race, and also the cruise down the coastline this coming fall.

These hearing aids present a quandry.  On the one hand, they help me to understand what other people are saying.  Being digital hearing aids, they do try to mask out noise that isn't helpful and amplify only those noises that correspond to speech.  They require a new battery avery 6-7 days, depending on how much I use them, and sit behind my ears with a small, nearly invisible, wire going to an earpiece in each ear.  While perfectly fine for every day wear, I am not complacent about the security of their perch in an environment which may see me submerged on a regular basis or smacked in the face with a wall of cold salt water, nor am I all to sure about them continuing to function after such indignities.  After all, salt water and electronics generally do not play well together.

So... should I wear the hearing aids or not?  If I do wear them, then it might make it easier for my crewmates to communicate with me.  Then, 3 months from the start when I lose them due to some wave action, they suddenly have to adapt to my not being able to understand them so easily.  The alternative, of course, is not to wear them, which means that my crewmates might find it more difficult to communicate with me, but it won't suddenly get markedly worse.

Then there are the logistical considerations of keeping the cleaning kit dry, keeping the spare batteries dry, what to do with the used batteries, where to get additional batteries if I should need to, how to keep the hearing aids sanitary on a boat that is constantly damp, not to mention trying to change teensy hearing aid batteries on a pitching and rolling ship and to manage the battery usage so that they don't go dead in the middle of a shift - and I don't lose or step on or otherwise break them accidentally.

If you think about the electronic gear that I want to bring - iPad, iPad Keyboard, GPS, Cell Phone, Head Lamp, satellite communicator, and now possibly the hearing aids, the amount of electricity used to recharge the items is mounting rather prodigiously.  the iPad and the GPS receiver will likely need recharging every day (with the GPS receiver possibly needing recharging twice per day).  Heck, while I'm at it, I might as well bring my laptop too - that only needs recharging every couple of hours...

generic marine batteryNow add in the various cables needed, and then the proper plugs to connect them into the boat electrical supply, and you can see that it's getting more and more complex, not to mention where I can leave this stuff out to charge alongside the stuff other people want to recharge on a daily basis.  I suddenly imagine a scene where there's all this electrical stuff side by side recharging and the captain asking why in the world the boat's batteries are nearly dead.

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