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The Phonak Lyric Invisible Hearing Aid- Review and First Impressions

The Luyric Hearing aid is placed deep in the ear canal by our staff, and no one can see it.

Discover How to Reclaim Your Lost Hearing for Better Speech, Conversation, and Everything You Do… without changing batteries, daily hearing aid hassles, or anyone even seeing the solution! 

Here’s my story….

I’ve been in the hearing care industry for over 20 years, 14 of them have been as a practice owner based out of right here in Wichita Falls. I’m a second generation board certified hearing instrument specialist. I have two hearing aid related patents with my name on them. I’m the former president of the Texas Hearing Aid Association, and the longest serving board member in the over 75 year history of the Association. I currently sit on the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation Advisory Committee on fitting and dispensing hearing instruments. I’m not bragging, but it’s safe to say I have a pretty extensive knowledge of hearing loss, hearing instruments, and the available technology for correcting hearing loss that’s available out there today.

but… 

  I’m also a musician. I majored in music at MSU, and actively still play guitar and bass in several musical projects around town. I also had a history of ear infections as a kid that took their toll on the function of my ears. My ears have taken some real abuse over the years. For most of the time, I absolutely knew better.  

 

And then the problems started…

 

    I was in my late 30’s when I first noticed that my hearing wasn’t as good as it used to be. My wife was becoming more and more difficult to understand. She and the kids were constantly complaining about how loud the TV was. I was having a hard time holding a conversation with a group of people in a noisy place.  As the signs of the loss began to mount, I finally went into the office and asked Donovan to run a legitimate hearing test on me. I had tested myself a few times after I began noticing, but I also knew it was impossible to get an accurate hearing test on yourself (one of the reason self fitting hearing aids are such a bad idea for most people- but that’s another subject for another time), and I wanted to know where I stood. 

  After he ran the test… there it was. A moderate hearing loss. My hearing was actually was bad enough that I had fit a lot of happy patients over the years with hearing instruments, who actually had better hearing than I did.  I was an owner of a hearing practice who had fit literally thousands of people with hearing aids… and it was time for me to get some. 

  Over the last few years, I’ve had the opportunity to try premium hearing instruments from just about every manufacturer. The technology has come a really long way. It’s really incredible what many of them can do in terms of producing a good sound quality, reducing background noise, connecting to wireless devices like cell phones, and they even have rechargeable batteries now. They are a great solution for hearing loss for many people. 

But the truth is… I’m bad about wearing them.

It’s not really a problem with the hearing aids. They work great. But, a lot of days, I’ll just forget to put them on. Sometimes, I’ll wear them, but I’ll forget to charge them at night. Also- as a musician, I have a really discriminating ear. The digital sound processing in modern hearing aids can do great things for speech understanding, but it can also come at the cost of things sounding less natural. For example- I would never use them to play guitar and sing. I would just take them out. 

Also- if I’m being totally honest, I’m only 44, and I’m a bald guy…. there’s not a good way for me to hide them without any hair. 

I’m a little young to not have at least a little issue with people seeing me wearing hearing aids. I know I shouldn’t feel that way, but unfortunately, I do. Hearing better is obviously critical to my quality of life, but I really wanted another solution. 

a man holds his hand to his ear

So, I decided to look into the Lyric Hearing Aid by Phonak. We were already dispensing hearing aids from Phonak in our practice, and we had found them to be a very high quality product. No one hearing aid brand is best for all users- everyone has different needs and it’s important to balance the needs of the individual patient with the capabilities of the manufacturer… but overall, Phonak makes a great hearing instrument with reliable build quality and a unique advanced feature set. 

Lyric is really different, though.

  • This product is placed into the ear by a certified professional.
  • It stays there for months at a time.
  • You don’t change batteries.
  • You don’t take it out. You leave it in the ear 24 hours a day.
  • You do have a small tool that you keep on your key chain that can be used to turn them on and off and change the volume if you want, and can also be used to  take them out in an emergency… but otherwise, you really just walk around with them in.
  • No one see them because they sit deep in the ear canal. You can even use headphones, talk on the phone, sleep and take a shower with them- pretty much anything but scuba dive, sky dive, or get an MRI. The battery lasts a few months. When it runs out, you come back into the office and have it replaced. 
An image of the interior components of the Lyric Invisible Hearing AId

This sounded perfect to me- for my situation. 

However, I wasn’t able to get my hands on the product to try it.

 

   Phonak is VERY restrictive about who they allow to fit these products. This product requires a high level of skill and a really well equipped practice to do it properly. No one within 100 miles of Wichita falls was certified. There is an application process to be considered, and after that, several rounds of classes and discussion, and then a mandatory, intensive in office training. 

I decided that if this was the right product for me, and I knew there were a LOT of other people in the same situation, I wanted my practice to be able to offer the product. 

 I’m proud to say Wichita Falls Hearing is now Lyric Certified. I can also tell you that I’m now wearing Lyric Hearing Aids. The sound quality is phenomenal. When they were first placed in my ear, Derek asked me “How does this sound?”, and then kept talking for a bit so I could evaluate.

I could only think of one thing to say… 

“Normal”. 

Like I said, I’ve tried a lot of hearing aids over the last few years. How these are MOST different is that they don’t SOUND like hearing aids. They sound like… well… hearing.

  • The TV is at a comfortable volume.
  • I can hear people whisper from several feet away- even if they aren’t facing me. Music sounds great.
  • After three days of wearing them, I can tell you, I have to think about them to know that they are even there. I just walk around hearing.
  • If I wasn’t sitting down to write this article, I wouldn’t even be thinking about it.

It’s surreal how effective they are, and how not only are they not uncomfortable, 95% of the time, I’m not even AWARE of them. I can’t say that about any other hearing aid.

A couple of things about these- they aren’t for everyone-

First off, they aren’t cheap. They are purchased by the one year subscription, which includes up to 7 replacements per year for each ear. This includes not only the devices (think about it- up to 14 of them total), but also the labor involved in their replacement (again, up to seven times per ear per year). You’re looking at about $325 per month for an annual subscription.

 You can pay in full at the time of getting them, but we can also finance them at no interest for 12 months with approved credit. That makes it truly like a subscription. You pay the same amount every month, and at the end of the year, you decide whether you want to renew your subscription- and 80% of people do.

It’s really a great value at that price when you think about it- but it’s difficult to compare it to a traditional hearing aid. 

Obviously, not everyone can afford that. Your health insurance may help, though. We can check that for you. 

Secondly– Not every ear can tolerate these, and they don’t work for all hearing losses. If the skin in your ear canal is overly sensitive, or too thin, there’s a chance it won’t react well to the product. The Lyric devices have an impressive fitting range, but some patients have a hearing loss that is too severe for this to do the job, and a traditional hearing aid is required. 

A measurement and evaluation of the health of your ear canal is part of the fitting process, so we can tell whether this should be a good match or not. 

After that, all of these devices come with a 30 day risk free trial, and since most people will approach the subscription by financing it for a year at a time, everyone has 30 days to evaluate whether they want to continue with these prior to making a payment on the subscription payment. 

I can already tell that Lyric is the right solution for my hearing loss. If you’d like to find out if it’s right for you, please make an appointment below and we’ll do a no- cost evaluation of your hearing and your ear canal to see if it’s a good fit. If it is, you may be able to walk out the door hearing better the same day you come in. If not, there is no cost to you, and as always, no obligation to buy anything. 

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