You recognize that the ol’ hearing just ain’t what it used to be. Sounds are muffled and you ask “What?” a lot. Something’s not working right but even so, you don’t do anything about the problem.
Why do only 2% of those who’d benefit from hearing aids actually wear these hearing helpers? You know the reasons. They’re the same reasons you haven’t made an appointment with a hearing health professional. You don’t want to. You’re willing to live with hearing loss because hearing aids are:
- big and bulky
- uncomfortable to wear
- troublesome to maintain
- an indication that you’re old and broken – the social stigma
Take your pick. At least one or two of these reasons are the reasons you’ve steered clear of a hearing professional for a hearing evaluation. And life just keeps getting quieter and quieter. Won’t be long before you’ll experience even more noticeable hearing loss. It’s a natural part of the aging process.
Hearing loss can also be brought on by long-term exposure to loud noise – think the workplace or MP3 player ear buds permanently in place. Loud, explosive noise can cause temporary and permanent hearing loss. And, of course, disease and various medical treatments can often play a role in the loss of hearing.
Approximately one in 10 of us would benefit from hearing aids but there we sit, TV blasting, neighbors complaining and family moving to another room. Not the way you expected things to turn out when you were listening to Jefferson Airplane at 120 dBs on the 8-track in your tricked out Gremlin, is it?
InSound’s Lyric Hearing Aids
There are disposable contact lenses for vision problems, so how about a real fix for hearing loss – one we can actually live with without fumbling and grumbling our way through dinner at a nice restaurant.
Welcome to a new age in hearing solutions with the introduction of Lyric Hearing from InSound, located in Newark, California. InSound has developed a cylindrical shaped hearing aid that fits into the ear canal and can be left in place for months – until the battery wears out.
Lyric Versus Traditional Hearing Aids
|Lyric is inserted deep within the ear canal. Photo courtesy of Lyric Hearing|
InSound’s Lyric isn’t for everyone, sorry. According to Robert Schindler, co-founder of InSound, “Unlike traditional hearing aids, which are typically placed behind the ear [BTE hearing aids] or in the outer portion of the ear canal, the Lyric is placed deep in the canal, about four millimeters from the eardrum. It is too deep in the ear to see, and the placement so close to the ear drum allows for a clearer, more natural sound.”
“Perfect? No,” said Paul Pessis, a Chicago-based audiologist and past president of the American Academy of Audiology. “We still don’t have the perfect hearing aid,” Pessis reported, but he’s been selling the Lyric since the summer of ’08. “Patients are loving its performance, including the natural quality of sound. It’s possible for patients to use a cell phone, and many are even finding they can use iPod ear buds, typically a major challenge for hearing aid wearers.”
The Lyric is inserted into the ear canal by a certified, trained hearing professional using a lubricant and forceps. Once in place, the device is capable of remaining in the ear canal for up to 120 days without removal. Not a permanent solution to hearing loss, but definitely a step in the right direction.
Unfortunately, the Lyric is only useful to approximately 50% of those who experience hearing loss. In some cases, the ear canal simply isn’t straight enough to insert the Lyric to its proper position. In other cases, the hearing loss is simply too severe. The Lyric is designed to assist individuals with mild to moderately-severe hearing loss.
Even though the Lyric is placed deep within the ear canal for complete invisibility and improved sound quality, there are still user controls that can be employed to remove the device and make adjustments to different listening environments.
Each patient receives a small hook just long enough to remove the Lyric, which shouldn’t be worn during MRI scans, for instance. An easy-to-use keychain device is used to raise or lower volume or turn off the device entirely to block out that snoring spouse.
However, the device otherwise stays in place until removed by the audiologist and replaced with another Lyric.
Is The Lyric For You?
It is if you lead an active, busy life and are seeking an alternative to traditional hearing aids. Convenience and discretion come standard with the Lyric.
|Picture of Lyric being worn. Photo courtesy of Lyric Hearing.|
However, there are some considerations that should be weighed before purchasing the Lyric. First, these disposable units are pricy, running between $3,000 and $4,000 annually. Lyric is sold on an annual subscription basis, meaning patients will purchase one year of Lyric hearing at a time. There is no need for repairs or battery replacement.
Another consideration? The battery inside the Lyric will last up to 120 days. What this means is the Lyric may remain in the ear canal for up to 120 days or until it ceases to function; however, at 120 days no matter what it will require a visit to the hearing professional’s office to be replaced with a new unit.
Units must be replaced by a trained hearing professional, which means regular trips to you hearing professional. That could be a hassle for some, but well worth the trade-off of invisibility and convenience day to day. Clearly a personal, lifestyle decision.
Finally, though no long-term studies have yet been developed, audiologists report that between 2%-3% of Lyric wearers develop some mild ear infection. Further studies are planned for the near future.
It should be pointed out that the Lyric is FDA approved and wearer approved by more and more people who wouldn’t consider traditional hearing aids.
But InSound’s Lyric is anything BUT traditional. For those who want to continue to enjoy an active, hassle-free life, complete with natural hearing, the Lyric may be the perfect choice for you.
You should hear what you’ve been missing. And the InSound Lyric may be the solution you’ve been looking for. Visit the Lyric Hearing website to find a trained Lyric hearing professional near you to find out if you are a candidate.