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Author Topic: Anyone have a style or brand of hearing aids you want to tell me about?  (Read 592 times)

Grandpa Shooter

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Like a lot of other veterans I am hard of hearing.  My wife calls it selective hearing.  I currently have hearing aids supplied by the VA that only make noises louder, not clearer.  I understand there are aids which can be tuned by buttons on the battery case, or by an app on your phone.  I am having trouble understanding any voice communication with everyone wearing masks, and me being dependent on reading lips to some degree.  I made an appt for next Tuesday for an evaluation but we have another storm system coming in Sunday that may force me to cancel my appt.  My neighbor has an implant and an aid in the other ear and says there are much better hearing aids out there than what the VA will provide since they buy and supply outdated units they can get on clearance pricing.  Folks here in Ky tend to mumble and talk in some dialect I have yet to decipher, so I don't worry about understanding the locals, but I would like to be able to distinguish noise from someone actually talking with me.  Typically if my wife is talking it's to her sister with her phone on speaker, or the three dogs, so I don't pay much attention.  Gets me in trouble frequently.  Anyone out there have any experience with tunable aids, and getting them through Medicare, or Tricare?

Hawkmoon

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Re: Anyone have a style or brand of hearing aids you want to tell me about?
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2021, 10:29:12 PM »

The hearing aids I was provided by the VA are not outdated, they are pretty much state of the art. Unfortunately, that means that I can't use them. There are no buttons on the aids themselves, they have to be adjusted/tuned/configured (whatever you choose to call it) via a cell phone app ... and I don't do cell phone apps. The woman who fitted them for me set them and, as far as I'm concerned, she set the volume way too high.

I think you should try to keep your appointment with the VA. If the devices they gave you aren't up to the job, ask if they have something else.

JN01

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Re: Anyone have a style or brand of hearing aids you want to tell me about?
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2021, 10:42:37 PM »

WHAT?

MillCreek

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Re: Anyone have a style or brand of hearing aids you want to tell me about?
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2021, 12:00:56 AM »

I have had a significant bilateral hearing loss since birth.  Without hearing aids, I have approximately 45% normal hearing.  With bilateral hearing aids, I have approximately 60% normal hearing.  Every audiologist and ENT I have ever met is astonished that I went to college, grad school and professional school and work in a job that involves interacting with people. Most people with my degree of loss cannot do this.

I have never had insurance coverage for hearing aids as an adult and therefore pay for them out of pocket.  For years, I bought a set at audiology practices or medical clinics and typically paid around $ 6000 per set and the clinic paid $ 3000 for them.  I have to get the most powerful aids to deal with my degree of loss. The typical set lasts for 3-4 years before the manufacturer stops supporting them.  Last time I checked, straight Medicare offers no hearing aid benefit.

Then, about 15 years ago, I read an article, possibly in Consumer Reports recommending Costco and I have bought all my aids there since. They are the second largest dispenser in the US, after the VA,  I get a set of the top of the line Kirkland Signature in the canal aids for $ 2800, and they are made by ReSound, one of the top makers.  The hearing aid manufacturers, to keep the audiology/ENT practices happy manufacture a special line of aids for Costco that don't have as many bells and whistles.  For example, my set has three programs, controlled by an app, while the same set at an audiology practice has four programs.

My Costco audiologist used to work for the VA, and she says the VA supplies top of the line units to the veterans.  She would tell you to go back to the VA and have them tinker with your existing set or give you another set.  However, just about all the modern aids are controlled by an app.  My current aids, for example, don't even have a volume wheel any more. 

So speaking as someone who has to pay out of pocket, I am very satisfied with the products and services at Costco.  I heard an apocryphal story that Jim Brotman, one of the co-founders of Costco, insisted early on that they carry hearing aids.  His mother was hard of hearing and her struggles to find affordable hearing aids inspired him.
_____________
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MillCreek
Snohomish County, WA  USA


Quote from: Angel Eyes on August 09, 2018, 01:56:15 AM
You are one lousy risk manager.

Grandpa Shooter

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Re: Anyone have a style or brand of hearing aids you want to tell me about?
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2021, 10:23:58 AM »

I have had a significant bilateral hearing loss since birth.  Without hearing aids, I have approximately 45% normal hearing.  With bilateral hearing aids, I have approximately 60% normal hearing.  Every audiologist and ENT I have ever met is astonished that I went to college, grad school and professional school and work in a job that involves interacting with people. Most people with my degree of loss cannot do this.

I have never had insurance coverage for hearing aids as an adult and therefore pay for them out of pocket.  For years, I bought a set at audiology practices or medical clinics and typically paid around $ 6000 per set and the clinic paid $ 3000 for them.  I have to get the most powerful aids to deal with my degree of loss. The typical set lasts for 3-4 years before the manufacturer stops supporting them.  Last time I checked, straight Medicare offers no hearing aid benefit.

Then, about 15 years ago, I read an article, possibly in Consumer Reports recommending Costco and I have bought all my aids there since. They are the second largest dispenser in the US, after the VA,  I get a set of the top of the line Kirkland Signature in the canal aids for $ 2800, and they are made by ReSound, one of the top makers.  The hearing aid manufacturers, to keep the audiology/ENT practices happy manufacture a special line of aids for Costco that don't have as many bells and whistles.  For example, my set has three programs, controlled by an app, while the same set at an audiology practice has four programs.

My Costco audiologist used to work for the VA, and she says the VA supplies top of the line units to the veterans.  She would tell you to go back to the VA and have them tinker with your existing set or give you another set.  However, just about all the modern aids are controlled by an app.  My current aids, for example, don't even have a volume wheel any more. 

So speaking as someone who has to pay out of pocket, I am very satisfied with the products and services at Costco.  I heard an apocryphal story that Jim Brotman, one of the co-founders of Costco, insisted early on that they carry hearing aids.  His mother was hard of hearing and her struggles to find affordable hearing aids inspired him.

Millcreek, you confirmed most of what I know about hearing aids, including the expense, which I consider exorbitant.  The ones the VA supplied me are behind the ear ones that only amplify sounds.  I am 50% deaf in both ears due to repeated concussions back in 1969 and 70 and again from 1994 to 2013, from a hobby of mine.  I understand there are ones available that can be set for home, theater and restaurant, or some variation on that, but were never offered to me.  I dislike making a fuss at the VA, but it appears that is how you get things done by them.  I have multiple other issues they are responsible for and have had to take issue with their treatment plan on many occasions.  Not being able to identify noises and things that go bump in the night really takes a toll on my well being, and not being able to make out what people are saying is causing me major frustration.  Neither of those goes well with my mental health.  I know it has to be annoying to folks I am talking with when I have to ask them to repeat, or lower their mask so I can read their lips.  The dogs seem to be ok with my hearing but my wife isn't happy with me.

MillCreek

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Re: Anyone have a style or brand of hearing aids you want to tell me about?
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2021, 10:35:50 AM »

^^^My wife also has a hearing loss, although it is not as bad as mine.  Both of us were trained as children to lip read, and all of this masking has turned our verbal comprehension to crap.  You are spot on in that there is literature showing links between advancing age, hearing loss, and the onset of mental health and dementia issues.  I keep reading that due to changes with the FDA, that there will be commercial quality hearing aids available over the counter 'any day now', but I have been reading that for the past few years with no developments.  That should dramatically decrease the cost if it happens.
_____________
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MillCreek
Snohomish County, WA  USA


Quote from: Angel Eyes on August 09, 2018, 01:56:15 AM
You are one lousy risk manager.

Grandpa Shooter

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Re: Anyone have a style or brand of hearing aids you want to tell me about?
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2021, 10:48:42 AM »

^^^My wife also has a hearing loss, although it is not as bad as mine.  Both of us were trained as children to lip read, and all of this masking has turned our verbal comprehension to crap.  You are spot on in that there is literature showing links between advancing age, hearing loss, and the onset of mental health and dementia issues.  I keep reading that due to changes with the FDA, that there will be commercial quality hearing aids available over the counter 'any day now', but I have been reading that for the past few years with no developments.  That should dramatically decrease the cost if it happens.

Since I researched hearing aids on my home computer I am getting a ton of ads and offers for units costing as little as $99 and rechargeable rather than battery operated all worn by folks who look like they never worked a day in their life and just came from the beauty salon or barber shop.  Ads like that just turn me off.  I know the kind of junk sold on line manufactured in some hut in a slum in Malaysia or the Philippines, but shipped from a US address to make you think it is American made.  If the FDA ever lifts the rigid requirements on medicine and treatments, none of our health care would cost what it does.  That is totally another thread which I won't start.  I'm going to try to keep my appt. with audiology but I really need the VA to open back up so I can see my other providers, not just talk to them on the phone.

Grandpa Shooter

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Re: Anyone have a style or brand of hearing aids you want to tell me about?
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2021, 04:03:49 PM »

The weather outside is frightful and expected to get worse overnight.  I called and cancelled my appt at the VA and will call and reschedule.  Hopefully I can get one in a few weeks.  I really want to get my ears checked.  They are out on holiday again today so no go on actually talking to anyone.

adively

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Re: Anyone have a style or brand of hearing aids you want to tell me about?
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2021, 04:25:25 PM »

We just got new hearing aids for both the kids and the total before tax was $7,500.
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Bad decisions make good stories.

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Grandpa Shooter

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Re: Anyone have a style or brand of hearing aids you want to tell me about?
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2021, 09:02:45 AM »

The weather outside is frightful and expected to get worse overnight.  I called and cancelled my appt at the VA and will call and reschedule.  Hopefully I can get one in a few weeks.  I really want to get my ears checked.  They are out on holiday again today so no go on actually talking to anyone.

To my surprise, the audiology clinic called me at 8:30 this morning and rescheduled me for 3 PM next Wednesday the 24th.  Wow, they seem to be on the ball, or desperate for customers.  If anyone is interested I will fill you in on the results and conclusions.

MillCreek

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Re: Anyone have a style or brand of hearing aids you want to tell me about?
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2021, 09:51:39 AM »

^^^I would be interested to hear, so to speak.
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MillCreek
Snohomish County, WA  USA


Quote from: Angel Eyes on August 09, 2018, 01:56:15 AM
You are one lousy risk manager.

HeroHog

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Re: Anyone have a style or brand of hearing aids you want to tell me about?
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2021, 04:38:06 PM »

My wife is deaf to the point that I have to YELL at her for her to understand me when she isn't wearing her hearing aids. Even wearing them, she needs to be looking at you (lip reading) to get a clear idea of what you are saying.
Her last pair of hearing aids were her father's behind-the-ear VA Bluetooth hearing aids and they were the best she has ever had as she needs the top power class aids available. Then she went to a friends where she spent the night and her friends cat found them on the night stand and DESTROYED THEM!!! :facepalm: :mad: :'(
We are back to her last pair of Bluetooth ones that we bought cheap ($3k) at a local ENT and they work Ok but not as good as her dad's VA pair.
:old:
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Grandpa Shooter

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Re: Anyone have a style or brand of hearing aids you want to tell me about?
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2021, 06:11:49 PM »

My wife is deaf to the point that I have to YELL at her for her to understand me when she isn't wearing her hearing aids. Even wearing them, she needs to be looking at you (lip reading) to get a clear idea of what you are saying.
Her last pair of hearing aids were her father's behind-the-ear VA Bluetooth hearing aids and they were the best she has ever had as she needs the top power class aids available. Then she went to a friends where she spent the night and her friends cat found them on the night stand and DESTROYED THEM!!! :facepalm: :mad: :'(
We are back to her last pair of Bluetooth ones that we bought cheap ($3k) at a local ENT and they work Ok but not as good as her dad's VA pair.
:old:

I may be way off in my assessment of what the VA provides, but I do know from personal experience that what is provided for health care, mental health services, specialty services varies greatly from region to region.  Waiting in a VA clinic for service, the conversation inevitably comes around to who moved from where to where and what the services are like in different regions.  I was in the Phoenix metro catch basin during the time the big VA scandal started and experienced the delays in specialty services myself.  When we moved to Ky, the overall service at the hospital was better but the CBOC I was assigned to sucked big time.  Luckily I was able to get reassigned to a better one, which has been relocated and appears worse for the change.  I am interested in seeing if audiology has improved in the 5 years since my last visit.  I sure hope so.  I'd like to be able to make human communication a better thing, and not piss my wife off asking her to repeat things.  Just this afternoon she was looking out the window and said, "Boy those snakes sure are flurrying around out there" and of course that's not what she claims to have said.  Multiply that on an everyday basis and you get the idea of what people like me live with.

HeroHog

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Re: Anyone have a style or brand of hearing aids you want to tell me about?
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2021, 07:09:48 PM »

This is in Shreveport, LA
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HeroHog

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Re: Anyone have a style or brand of hearing aids you want to tell me about?
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2021, 07:14:39 PM »

I'd like to be able to make human communication a better thing, and not piss my wife off asking her to repeat things.  Just this afternoon she was looking out the window and said, "Boy those snakes sure are flurrying around out there" and of course that's not what she claims to have said.  Multiply that on an everyday basis and you get the idea of what people like me live with.

BTDT, EVERY damn day. I ask, she answers, I give her the "what the hell did you say?" look, LMAO, LOOK at her, speak UP, and re-ask the question.
I might not last very long or be very effective but I'll be a real pain in the ass for a minute!
MOLON LABE!

MillCreek

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Re: Anyone have a style or brand of hearing aids you want to tell me about?
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2021, 01:48:32 PM »

^^^Oticon is one of the top end manufacturers. When I was younger, I had behind-the-ear models and I did not like them.  Especially with a bald head and working out or riding a bicycle, sweat would trickle down onto the aids and moisture is not good for them.  I was happy when the technology advanced enough that I could get by with in-the-ear although I think my audiologist would be happier if I went with behind-the-ear since there is more room to accommodate more features.
_____________
Regards,
MillCreek
Snohomish County, WA  USA


Quote from: Angel Eyes on August 09, 2018, 01:56:15 AM
You are one lousy risk manager.

grampster

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Re: Anyone have a style or brand of hearing aids you want to tell me about?
« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2021, 03:44:56 PM »

I have a question about hearing aids.  When wearing them, do they all echo in your head when you speak?  My wife refuses to wear them as both pairs we got caused that problem and she won't deal with it.

Full discosure:  Both sets were ordered from companies who claim to produce very fine aids at very low prices due to the change in the laws recently with respect to hearing aids.
"Never wrestle with a pig.  You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it."  G.B. Shaw

MillCreek

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Re: Anyone have a style or brand of hearing aids you want to tell me about?
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2021, 03:48:55 PM »

^^^I experience no feedback or anything else that resembles this complaint.
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MillCreek
Snohomish County, WA  USA


Quote from: Angel Eyes on August 09, 2018, 01:56:15 AM
You are one lousy risk manager.

Larry Ashcraft

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Re: Anyone have a style or brand of hearing aids you want to tell me about?
« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2021, 04:35:21 PM »

I have a question about hearing aids.  When wearing them, do they all echo in your head when you speak?  My wife refuses to wear them as both pairs we got caused that problem and she won't deal with it.

Full discosure:  Both sets were ordered from companies who claim to produce very fine aids at very low prices due to the change in the laws recently with respect to hearing aids.

No, but then again, mine cost almost $6,000.  They're Audibels, but they're the first I've ever had so I have no way of comparing them with anything else.

Grandpa Shooter

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Re: Anyone have a style or brand of hearing aids you want to tell me about?
« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2021, 05:13:43 PM »

I have a question about hearing aids.  When wearing them, do they all echo in your head when you speak?  My wife refuses to wear them as both pairs we got caused that problem and she won't deal with it.

Full discosure:  Both sets were ordered from companies who claim to produce very fine aids at very low prices due to the change in the laws recently with respect to hearing aids.

I have been wearing hearing aids on and off for probably 15 years now.  My first set were little acorn style that went completely in my ear canal and made me crazy. (Crazier)  My ears itched so bad I couldn't stand them.  The second set were only behind the ear amplifiers and made everything too loud.  Even bodily noises were amplified.  My third set, which I am trying to wear again are amplifiers, and the VA claims are clarifiers.  They are blue tooth capable.  I have a pendant that is supposed to pick up additional feed and send it directly to my hearing aids, but being tech ignorant, I have never been able to get it to stay synced to my computer or my hearing aids.  It appears I have to sync it every time I use my hearing aids, which for a non techie is a major PIA.  As to whether I get an echo, yes I do if I have them turned up too loud, or if I just put in new batteries.  My batteries only last 4 days and the 4th day I have to turn them up to get the full benefit.  If I have just changed the batteries I have to remember to turn them down, otherwise if I speak in my normal voice I blow my own ears up.  My last diagnosis was that in addition to being 50% deaf in both ears, I also have a comprehension problem.  If I don't catch the context of what is being said, I typically have a huge gap before I can figure out what the other person is talking about.  That other person is usually my wife.  I still haven't figured out why she ever wanted me to put the teddy bear in the microwave, or why the snakes were flurrying outside the other day.  I still find hearing aids to be a major pain, but coupled with the masking requirement it plays havoc with my other issues. Hopefully next Wednesday will shed some light on those issues.

grampster

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Re: Anyone have a style or brand of hearing aids you want to tell me about?
« Reply #21 on: February 22, 2021, 03:44:38 PM »

Thanks for the feedback.  Sounds like maybe the echo problem is because we were trying to save some bucks by taking advantage of companies who claim to provide the same tech as costly aids because of the law change.  Both sets cost around 4 or $500.00 each or so for a pair iirc, and they did both issue refunds.  We don't have insurance that covers hearing aids.  If the echo thing is endemic with hearing aids I surely don't want to spend several thousand dollars to have Swmbo nix them and maybe not be able to get any refund.

Both of us have a diminishment in hearing.  Hers is worse than mine.  We do both have some great laughs over what we thought we heard.  I've got a Bose system hooked to our TV, but that really doesn't help much.  It's better if I turn down the bass and up the treble.  Oddly...or maybe not so odd...is we can hear and understand commercials almost perfectly.
"Never wrestle with a pig.  You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it."  G.B. Shaw

Larry Ashcraft

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Re: Anyone have a style or brand of hearing aids you want to tell me about?
« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2021, 06:59:51 PM »

Thanks for the feedback.  Sounds like maybe the echo problem is because we were trying to save some bucks by taking advantage of companies who claim to provide the same tech as costly aids because of the law change.  Both sets cost around 4 or $500.00 each or so for a pair iirc, and they did both issue refunds.  We don't have insurance that covers hearing aids.  If the echo thing is endemic with hearing aids I surely don't want to spend several thousand dollars to have Swmbo nix them and maybe not be able to get any refund.

Both of us have a diminishment in hearing.  Hers is worse than mine.  We do both have some great laughs over what we thought we heard.  I've got a Bose system hooked to our TV, but that really doesn't help much.  It's better if I turn down the bass and up the treble.  Oddly...or maybe not so odd...is we can hear and understand commercials almost perfectly.
Audibel has an optional ($250) hookup that allows you to send your TV audio directly to your aids.  They also have a little microphone (also $250) that you can set in front of your buddy, if you're in a bar or restaurant.

Grandpa Shooter

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Re: Anyone have a style or brand of hearing aids you want to tell me about?
« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2021, 10:32:42 PM »

Audibel has an optional ($250) hookup that allows you to send your TV audio directly to your aids.  They also have a little microphone (also $250) that you can set in front of your buddy, if you're in a bar or restaurant.

I have that little microphone thing.  It's great if the sound on the TV never fluctuates.  However that is not the case.  If I don't turn my hearing aids down quickly enough, it'll blast my ears.  What is the most annoying is that since I read lips as an unconscious help in hearing, if the people are talking quietly to each other, I'm lost.  Accents really lose me.  What is absolutely the worst is when the lip sync is off.  Or if what the words are doesn't match what was actually said.  My wife is pretty good about setting up subtitles when they are available.  I'm anxious to get to my new evaluation on Wednesday.

Grandpa Shooter

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Re: Anyone have a style or brand of hearing aids you want to tell me about?
« Reply #24 on: February 24, 2021, 09:15:04 PM »

Ok, here is the update:  Went to the audiology appt today and had a good conversation with the Dr.  My hearing has changed some and I still misunderstand some words.  She says the aids I have are way out dated even though they are only 6 years old.  We talked about the in the ear canal, in the outer ear, and behind the ear models.  She says they can do the most with the behind the ear, but understands my frustration of dealing with wearing masks and the strings pulling my aids out.  I haven't lost any but apparently a number of Veterans have.  I opted for in the ear canal with batteries over the behind the ear rechargeable since we have off the grid property in Arizona we will be spending time at now that the grand daughters have a new Momma Kayla and have moved out.  I also wanted ones I could access via my smart phone so that I could set them for my surroundings.  I also have the option of returning them in 5 months from the day I get them if they don't work out, and get a different style.

The down side to this is that my local VA hospital is only supplying Phonak units, which are not highly rated, in fact you have to read quite aways down the list to find them, and then it is ones for kids in Skittles colors.  When I asked about having seen that Oticon was a VA supplier she said only in some regions, but not this one.  That's about what I expected.  We'll see if the new ones I get in a month will do the job. 
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