Are you up to the physical challenges?



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    edited June 2022

    @BKMD - To answer your question about how long batteries last, it depends on your hearing loss. The greater your hearing loss, the louder the aid has to be and the faster it uses the battery. But I'd say a week on a battery is reasonable. I never really checked on mine. When a battery failed, I'd replace it and I never felt that the battery was failing too quickly.

    And to echo JohnS, background noise is a big problem. I can hear and understand well in a quiet area but am lost in a high noise area.

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    Alan - What type of hearing aids do you have? Are they behind the ear or inside the ear?

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    My wife got very tired of telling me what people were saying:-)

    And there it is!! :D Many of us have been there!! :(

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    Unless you charged your aids during the flight, it's likely that you'll get a dead battery sometime after you arrive during the day. And it takes a while to recharge the batteries - hours.

    While on a long flight, could you wear one and while charging the other one - alternate and double the time?

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    Let me add a few comments about Costco hearing aids in case there are people out there considering hearing aids. I have no association with Costco except that I purchased hearing aids from them.

    First, if you're experiencing hearing loss, you should be evaluated by an ear specialist. If your hearing loss is just age related you can purchase your aids anywhere you wish.

    The cost to manufacture a hearing aid is probably similar to the cost to manufacture the Apple airpods. More expensive because Apple makes a lot more airpods than companies make hearing aids. But the basic message is that the hearing aids are not that expensive to manufacture. The cost is in the development, support and sales.

    Costco makes a deal with hearing aid manufacturers to purchase a volume of aids so they get discounted pricing, which they pass along to their customer.

    A set of modern, top of the line, hearing aids at the doctor's office will cost you about $7,000 (maybe more). At Costco, probably less than half that.

    There are some other differences, and I'll talk about the laws in California, where I live. I expect most states have similar laws.

    In CA, you have the right to return the aids within 30 days for complete refund. If you had fitted ear molds, you will have to pay for those. And just an aside, Costco charged me $75 for fitted ear molds, while the doctor's office wanted $250.

    At Costco, you have 180 days to decide whether the aids work for you. If you return in that time, you will get a full refund, less your fitted molds.

    Costco included five years of free service (in case an aid fails) and provides free replacement if you lose one or both. You can purchase that insurance at the doctor's office for an extra fee.

    A side note: They don't repair hearing aids - they just give you a new aid. I asked the Costo guy what happens if someone falsely reports that they lost their aids to get an extra set. He told me that the aids have a serial number and if you bring the "lost" aids in, or send them for repair, they will be kept (not given back to you).

    Costco does not get the latest version of the hearing aids but hearing aid technology moves slowly so having one generation back doesn't really handicap you.

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    edited June 2022

    @BKMD - Once dinner on the plane is over, I usually turn my aids off so that they act like ear plugs. I have taken my charger and charged the aids while I was sleeping but mostly just wear my battery aids on the plane. If I didn't have the extra set, I'd charge them on the plane while I was sleeping.

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    I am also in California and rules from state to stare are different. Hopefully not on a morbid note, I know good friends that have purchased caskets from Costco for their loved ones. I kid you not. It was the exact same that would have been ordered somewhere else. Several thousand dollars were saved.

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    When traveling on a plane I always take my hearing aids off. I find the background hum of the flight too annoying with the aids on. I have moderate hearing loss in the right ear and mild loss on the left so I can get by with them off.

    If one doesn’t have insurance that covers hearing aids, I understand that Costco is the best place to get them. The insurance I have will cover $2000 per ear each year. $4000 total so it is a no brainer to use the insurance plan.

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    MM, thanks for the heads up on physical readiness. We are hoping to be heading on this trip in April.

    A question - you mentioned they’d be walking sticks on the ship but what about at Machu Picchu? I have a collapsible stick I could bring but not sure that’d be allowed in the sanctuary.


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    When I went to Machu Picchu (around 2017), Tauck provided walking sticks that we could keep if we wanted to.

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    Nothing provided at Machu Picchu. The ones provided on the Isabela II in the Galapagos are bamboo poles that are heavier than most aluminum poles at retailers. Any stick used at Machu Picchu or in the Galapagos, must have a protective rubber tip.

    The best deal on hearing aids, for those who qualify, is the Veteran's Administration *. If anyone is interested in more details, send me a PM. I have Bluetooth enabled, rechargeable ones. The small storage container supplied with them will charge the hearing aids via a USB from a suitable source. The case also has its own small rechargeable internal battery that will charge the hearing aids up to 3 times before the case itself must be recharged.

    • the VA is the largest supplier of top brand hearing aids in the US. According to one article, the "market is dominated by the Veterans Affairs (VA) and constitutes 21% of U.S. sales."
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    Hi Amy! At Ollantaytambo, there were vendors at the entrance selling collapsible walking sticks but we didn't need them at Ollantaytambo or Machu Picchu. The terrain at Macchu Picchu is mostly stone paths and stairs. In the Galapagos, we took the sticks only when the guides recommended them. On some islands we still didn't need them as the paths are quite good, but it is good to have one for extra stability when you are hiking on the volcanic rock, which is uneven and can be sharp. We had a teen on our tour who was showing off on the volcanic rock. She fell, sprained her ankle, and scraped her leg pretty badly. I recommend wearing good hiking shoes with ankle support and long pants that day.

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    Home from a great trip. Id add to @MM Walsh post that this trip requires stamina. Since retirement I’ve lived a relatively sedentary life - one hour at the gym each day and then relatively quiet after that. For this trip I upped my workouts (longer workouts and pool swims), but I SHOULD have added extra workout sessions rather than longer sessions. Three 20 minute workouts spread through the day would have better replicated the actively level of the trip,

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