Lyric hearing aids and my experience with them

lyric
hearing-aids
#1

As someone born with mild to severe sensorineural hearing loss in my right ear and mild to moderately severe sensorineural hearing loss in my left ear, I’ve been wearing hearing aids most of my life and have tried many different types. All have their advantages and disadvantages.

 In March of this year, I became aware of a new type of hearing aid that can be implanted deep into the inner ear canal just a few millimeters from the ear drum called the Lyric. I wanted to share with all of you my experience with the Lyric hearing aid in hope that some of you searching for the best solution for your hearing needs may have a similar outcome.

 After getting some preliminary information about the Lyric HA's, I located a local audiologist who dispenses them and setup an appointment to see if I was a candidate for the Lyric. After testing my hearing and thoroughly inspecting both ears, I was determined to be a candidate for the Lyric, though I was warned my ear canals have a curve that could potentially cause problems. I agreed to undergo a 30 day trial to see if Lyric was right for me. The initial fitting involved inserting a small round object with a thin piece of plastic protruding from one side all the way into the ear until the plastic thread made contact with the ear drum. This was somewhat painful in my left ear, and extremely painful in my right ear causing it to be sore for a few days. It felt like someone had stuck a lit cigarette all the way into my ear. They would have to put me under to do another fitting  :). Anyways, the lyric is made up of two segments of a yellow foam-life material blanketing the electronics that is supposed to allow the inner ear to "breathe" even when the device is in place. These foam pieces come in different sizes based on the size of your ear canal.

 My audiologist was eventually able to get both Lyric devices to fit snugly in my inner ear canals after trying a couple different sizes. The next step involved eliminating feedback and fine-tuning the programming using a small computer-like device. The difference was astounding. It was like being able to hear for the first time in my life. I went home with the lyrics for my 30 day trial and literally had tears of joy standing in my back yard being able to hear the wind, the rustling of leaves, birds singing, far away traffic, the grass crunching beneath my feet, unseen people talking in neighbor's yards, and sounds I have never heard before in my life and had no idea what they were. Every activity I engaged in, everywhere I went was like a whole new experience for me. Nobody had a clue that I wore hearing aids or that I was even hearing impaired. I could hear high pitched voices just as well as low pitched voices, near or far, facing me or otherwise.

 Initially the sensation is like having ear plugs deep inside your ear. The discomfort for me was very subtle, nothing I had to take any ibuprofen for. Some things I noticed right away is that when walking (especially barefoot) I hear a "thump thump", not the amplified sound of me walking, but it sounds almost as if it's in my head, as a result of each step. Also, when laying down, I could hear my heart beating inside my head. Neither bothered me significantly and my brain quickly adjusted to these side-effects of the Lyrics to the point I can no longer hear my heart beating when laying down even if I try, and the "thump" from walking barefoot has become so quiet I have to think about it to notice it. Another issue I encountered is when chewing food, sometimes I would hear a "click" most likely the result of the shape of my ear canal changing somewhat and impacting my right Lyric. This went away completely as the devices "settled" over a period of weeks or my brain learned to tune it out. The sensation of having my ear canals semi-permanently blocked in such a way was challenging for me to deal with but I wanted so badly for my ears to be compatible with Lyrics I dug deep to find the strength and motivation to carry on with my trial. As the weeks went by, I encountered minor difficulties with irritation inside my ear canals which were cured by simply removing the Lyric's for a brief period. My audiologist was able to extend my trial for me to make sure these irritations wouldn't be an ongoing problem. 

 By the end of my trial I had eliminated all of the minor problems I experienced with the Lyrics and had completely adapted to them. No longer could I even tell the Lyrics were there, my ears felt just as they would if the Lyrics weren't inserted. I was sold on a plan which set me back a hefty $3,190 for a year subscription, but ultimately in my opinion, a small price to pay for being able to hear more or less like a normal person. I am now 5 months into my subscription and it has been absolutely life-changing for me. I've only had to replace the Lyrics once, and only because I was nearing the end of the estimated battery life with a pending trip to Hawaii. My audiologist replaced the devices so I wouldn't be stranded in Hawaii should the batteries finally die.

 One of my major concerns was wearing the Lyrics in water. I planned to do some snorkeling in Hawaii so I worked with my audiologist to size me for some Doc's Pro Plugs and a Ear-Band It. If I inserted the plugs with the Lyrics on, I would get feedback so I turned them to "sleep", eliminating all feedback. Next I wrapped the Ear Band-It as directed and proceeded to snorkel to my hearts content with no water entering my ears. The funny thing was, even with the Lyrics set to "sleep" and plugs in my ears, I was still able to engage in conversation. The sleep mode in lyrics allows for slight amplification so they aren't completely off, important in case there is a fire while you're sleeping for example, you don't want to be completely deaf and not hear the smoke alarm, but still quiet enough to greatly aid falling asleep if you live with someone who snores :D. It's about 2 months now after my trip to Hawaii and I'm still wearing the same Lyric devices that were inserted before the trip. The Pro-Plugs are also worn in the shower to stop moisture from entering the ear canals and shortening the lifespan of the Lyrics. 

 Now that I'm fully acclimated to the Lyrics, it's hard to imagine a device that would be an improvement. They are completely invisible. My audiologist tested my hearing with the Lyrics in and I hear almost as well as a normal person in some frequencies, and better than a normal person in other frequencies. I understand they are analog devices, mainly I suspect to conserve battery power, but this has never been an issue for me. Controlling the Lyric is very simple, you hold a small magnetic wand just inside your ear canal to turn the devices on/off or to change the volume. This same magnetic wand unscrews and turns into a removal device should you need to remove the Lyric yourself. Removal involves using the claw on the removal tool to catch the loops protruding from the outer part of the Lyric, and gently pulling it out with a rotating motion. 

 Being young and a college student, it was important to me that nobody could tell I wore hearing aids because of the stigma attached to them. I've dealt with the stigma, it's unfortunate, but it is what it is: people will assume things about you or treat you different just because you wear hearing aids. This is why I want to share my story about the Lyric hearing aid. Having been hearing impaired my whole life I completely understand what it is like to have people staring at your hearing aids, greatly exaggerating pronunciation, or yelling to talk to you when they don't need to, all of which I personally found bothersome and even insulting or demeaning in some cases. Likewise, it is frustrating for others to deal with your hearing loss and embarrasing when you completely hear somebody wrong and say something that gets you weird looks. 

 Well that is my experience thus far with Lyric, I'm not even halfway through my subscription and I can say that it would be impossible for me to go back to any other hearing aid. I literally forget I even wear them. I never have to remove them or mess with them in any way except when showering, swimming, or setting them to "sleep" for bed. I would be happy to answer any questions, and I sincerely hope each and every one of you is able to find a hearing solution, Lyric or otherwise, that brings as much joy and self-confidence back into your life as the Lyric has brought me. 

Cheers!

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Lyric invisible hearing aids
Phonak Lyrica?
#2

Your posting about your Lyric hearing aid is really very well written and I am very impressed with your experience as well a you as an author! THANKS so much for posting it!

My profound loss limits my selection of hearing aids, but I was aware of the Lyric as frankly was skeptical as to their practicality - you have certainly change my opinion there.

I grew up wearing two body aids, went to hearing aid eyeglasses (without anything in their eyeglass frames as I didn’t need prescription lenses so why bother having to keep them clean…) and then BTE hearing aids. For most of my life, lipreading was the means for me to have a conversation, not hearing. As to the stigma of being profoundly hearing impaired, a lot is in the mind of the hearing aid wearer as well as most of the public are not understanding in what they can do to help conversing with a person with a hearing loss.

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#3

I too enjoyed your post. What is your hearing level? Can you post your audiogram so others can see similarities and consider trying a pair.

I’ve seen ads for them. I think I have a problem with the $3,100 per year for hearing aids. Especially analog. But if the results are what you say it may be well worth it. I too enjoyed my hearing aids MUCH MORE once they were properly tuned. I am sure thy can be even better…

Thank you.

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#4

yes, we would like to see your audiogram.

The benefit of the Lyrics is that it keeps your ear canal open and the microphone picks up the sound close to the eardrum. This is very important for localizing sounds because the perception of sounds depends heavily on whether it comes from the back, the side or the front as the sound is influenced by the pinna and the ear canal. It may be very important for hearing in noise.

This frequency shaping of sounds is lost when a hearing aid blocks your ear canal and/or the microphone is far away from the eardrum, like in BTE’s. Therefore, hearing aids need to reconstruct this frequency shaping but they don’t know where the sound is coming from. I think the standard direction used in simulated in the open ear response is 45° from the front. So there is substantially less difference between perception of sounds coming from different directions.

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#5

I loved your story, you should check back every once in a while at the Lyric website. They had a great promotion where you submit your story about your Lyric hearing aids and you could win a years supply.

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#6

I’m really glad you posted this excellent review of your experience with the Lyric - mainly because I started my 30-day trial just this past Monday! I’m 66, and my hearing loss started when I was in the Army (artillery) in my late teens. In the last few years it has become a real annoyance to me and most everyone around me, but I resisted the idea of hearing aids mostly because of the “stigma”. I’ve also known a number of people that have spent thousands of dollars on hearing aids and the things ended up in a dresser drawer. I first read about the Lyric a couple of years ago and became quite interested, but they only began selling them in my area (Dallas, TX) a couple of months ago.

So here I am trying these things out, and having most of the same minor issues you had and hoping I can last it out and be able to use the Lyrics for the rest of my life. I’m going back for a follow-up this coming Monday and I think there’s some fine tuning to do.

When the audiologist turned the Lyrics on after inserting them, I was shocked with the sheer avalanche of sound that I was oblivious to for so many years. I told her that there was probably something wrong with the aids because I could hear a regular clicking sound; she laughed and told me it was the clock on the wall ticking. I’m not making this up. When she subsequently tested my hearing, my results were similar to yours - far better than before and actually better than “normal” at many frequencies. We left the volume set on “3”, but I turned it down to “2” later that evening and finally last night I turned it down to its lowest setting. Many things sound kind of harsh to me, but I think she can adjust the frequency and gain to compensate for that. I also expect that my brain will adapt over the next few weeks to compensate. The ultimate test was yesterday at lunch in a very noisy restaurant where I’ve been virtually unable to carry on a conversation because of the background noise, etc. It was still very noisy with the Lyrics in my ears, but I could hear every word spoken by the three people I dined with. I also discovered that I no longer needed to speak very loudly myself. All this and the units are completely invisible. If the slight discomfort goes away and the audiologist is able to make a few minor adjustments, I’ll be totally satisfied. I’ll post the results of my follow-up here next week if there is any interest by forum members. Again, thanks for your thorough and extremely well-written post.

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#7

so many new good stories about ltric hearing aids

are these stories real or just a spam :cool::cool:

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#8

Every year I am entitled for a pair of new hearing aids from my health insurance. I have tried all the best HA my audiologist have recommended to me. I have only been using hearing aids since 2004. First of all, before I continue, let me tell you that my number one hobby is music. When my musical taste matured I began to appreciate classical music, opera, jazz and some country music. I buy the best audio components for my system that I could afford. I built my own speaker systems that would have cost thousands of dollars. I want a very faithful reproduction of my music (“LIVE”). I listen to music very very loudly. That explains my lost of hearing by about 8 to 10 db in the high frequencies. For me the best hearing aids I am fortunate to use that reproduce the best sound is a pair of Phonaks. I forgot which model they are but it was their best model a year and a half ago with the remote control called “my Pilot”. Last January, 2010, contacted my audiologist to order the latest Phonaks Audeo for me to try. He suggested that I should wait a few months to try a pair of the newest model of Lyrics hearing aids and he is not an authorized dispencer yet. He believed that I will like them due to its design, etc. I, of course, did my research on Lyrics. This is before the model Wow came into the market by another distributor. Two weeks ago my audiologist’s assistant called me to inform me that I could audition a pair of Lyrics/Wow hearing aids for a month and if I do not like them I won’t be obligated to buy them. In fact I was fitted with the help of the factory audiologist that was there to assist and train my audiologist on fitting and programming the HA. What a big disappointment! Lyrics/Wow is a big joke as far as I am concern. The sound: Too much harmonic distortions. They sounded fuzzy. The frequency range is limited. I don’t think it even goes up to 4khz. There was some phase cancellations or dips when I change my head positions when listening to music. I removed them after a day of use. Phonaks have recently bought the Lyrics manufacturer. Hopefully Phonaks wil do some refinements on the circuitry and use better microphone and reciever (speaker). Hopefully I’ll get a chance to audition a pair when that day comes. Occlusion: I left this issue last. The occlusion was there. There was a slight pain in the inner canal where the inner seal was seated in. I believed I would have considered keeping them if they sounded as good as my current hearing aids, Phonaks. I believed the people that have high praise of Lyrics have forgotten how real sounds should sound like and or the hearing aids they are upgrading were bad sounding to begin with. Rick from Long Beach

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#9

You might be right in your assessment of the Lyric - I really have nothing to compare them with other than my lousy hearing as I’ve never tried another brand or model. I posted above that I just started my 30-day trial of the Lyric and so far I’m pretty happy with them and will be even more pleased if the audiologist can fine tune the settings when I go back on Monday for a follow-up session. Outside the ear or easily visible hearing aids are simply not an option for me, so I hope I’ll be happy with the Lyrics. If I do keep them at the end of the trial, I’ll continue to assess them for the rest of my first year subscription. If I’m not happy with them at that point, I’ll simply either not renew for another year or take another look at what else is available. Maybe Lyric will improve their technology over the next couple of years. We’ll see how it goes. And to the other person who posted after me - no, this is not spam…

BTW, my hearing loss didn’t start because of listening to loud music - I never did like excessively loud music, that’s why I seldom go to concerts or even movie theaters. Mine came about from standing next to a 105mm howitzer for hours at a time, using either my fingertips or a cigarette butt for ear protection - that’s how we did it in the early 1960’s.

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#10

I am new to the use of Hearing aids and I have been trialing a pair of Phonak Audeo Smart V’s for about 4 weeks. Then at my request, my Audi let me try a pair of Audeo Smart IX’s and a myPilot. Both of the aids helped, although speech in noisy environments was still a problem. Knowing that I am willing to try new things out, my Audi called me and asked if I wanted to give the Lyric a try. He had the Lryic representative in and was fitting those of his patients that had expressed an interest or were willing to try something new. I was fitted yesterday afternoon. The fitting process is a bit uncomfortable almost bordering on painful at times. Part of that was clearing out some dried wax that was very near the ear drum. Once fully fitted there was no pain, just the unusual feeling of something in your ear. After 24 hours the sensation is still there, but I believe that it is somewhat muted and hope that it will become barely noticeable with time.

I haven’t yet been in a noisy environment to check out my speech comprehension, but in general my hearing does seem to be fairly good and it certainly is hassle free. My hearing was never that bad, so it’s not like many people in these forums who experience a dramatic difference when wearing hearing aids. I can see where the price of these aids can be a deterrent, but since I have to pay for these out of my own pocket anyways, it would actually be cheaper for me the first year. I suspect that no matter which aid I ultimately select, I will always be looking at the next generation and upgrading often. I’ve already been promised a free upgrade to the Audeo Smart S (for Spice) when it comes out if I end up with the Phonak.

The one thing I can say for Lyric so far is it was nice to be able to go to sleep last night watching TV without having to turn it up because I took my aids out :slight_smile:

It’s too early for me to have made a decision on whether or not to stick with these, but it is nice to have choices.

I go back to see my Audi in two more weeks. I’ll try and post my impressions between now and them and let you know what I decide if I can ever make up my mind.

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#11

Hi, I have been wearing BTE’s for about 10 years. Recently one of my molds has become very uncomfortable and squeels when I use the phone. My audiologist says it’s nothing. I know this isn’t normal. Any suggestions.???

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#12

Thanks for the review of your hearing aid experience.

It’s always good to hear ANY feedback and experiences (both good and bad) about hearing aids.

I am keen to hear more about your experiences with the Lyric.

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#13

I would have to say that for the most part the comfort issues have all subsided. The only comfort issue remaining is an occasional itching that is easier relieved in one ear over the other. It appears that the Lyric is in a bit deeper or there is more space between the outside edge of the Lyric and the outside opening of the ear canal. For the ear that has the Lyric in further I am able to scratch any itch fairly effectively. The other ear is a bit more problematic as most attempts at scratching tend to disturb the Lyric itself.

As for hearing ability I think its a mixed bag. I can certainly get sounds to be louder, but I still have trouble understanding speech in noisy situations. I don’t believe it is any better than the Phonak Audeo Smart IX’s I was trying out before being fitted with the Lyrics. I think I may hold out for the Audeo Smart S(pice) and try them before making a final decision. The cosmetic appeal of wearing non-visible HA is very low on my priorities and I’m thinking the technology and capabilities of the normal BTE aids probably surpasses that of the analog Lyrics. I think that in a few more years they may have digital aids that may be fit in the same manner as the Lyric and I might try them again then. Of course I still have until Friday to make up my mind on my current Lyrics.

I certainly appreciate all of the useful information I have gleaned from this site and everyone sharing their experiences.

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#14

One thing that I would question is if it is a good idea to keep the Lyric in your ear over night because it seems that there could be moisture build up in the inner ear. It may cause a fungus type to develop if air can’t get into the middle ear. It sounds like its still in an experimental stage.

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#15

I believe that Lyrics have been on the market for several years now. I have not heard of any issue with moisture buildup causing medical problems. One of the factors that result in replacing the Lyric is moisture and wax damage. I have been told that the battery itself will last better than 4 months, but the average replacement time is 2-3 months.

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#16

Well, I decided to have the Lyric’s removed and go back to the Audeo IX’s. My audi is ordering the new Audeo Spice IX’s and I will get fitted for those in about two weeks. I think the Lyric’s just aren’t quite ready for prime time.

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#17

I’m really happy for all the people in this and the other older, much longer Lyric thread who found Lyric aids a great solution for their needs.

I really wanted Lyric to work for me. I loved that no one can tell you’re wearing them and the low maintenance (except for visits to replace them when the batteries die, but a Lyric audiologist works only five minutes away from my home, so for me, they would be very convenient). And what I came to like most about them was for me a very pleasant, unexpected surprise: they have a power-down feature where they turn into earplugs. Awesome! I haven’t slept that well in years! Great when cutting the grass! Also useful during in-law visits!

More than a few people try Lyric, like them, but back away (or never try them) because of their very high cost long-term (almost $10 per day, ongoing, because they’re sold by subscription). I would have sprung for the high cost if they’d worked reasonably well to get their special benefits, but for me they just didn’t work.

I tried two different times. The first week, I got my ear sized. I was close to being on the line between two sizes, so we tried the bigger one, and it seemed okay in the office, but over the next few days, pain slowly began to grow until by the fifth day when the pain was getting sharp, I knew it wasn’t going to work. I had to ask for a same-day appointment to get them taken out, and my canals showed irritation and some bleeding. I was having serious back pain issues at the time and was heavily medicated, so I felt my brain was confused with pain sensations and maybe it just wasn’t a great time to be trying to do this.

A few weeks later, after my back and ear canals had cooled down, I was ready to try again with the smaller size. This trial lasted four weeks, and though they didn’t cause acute pain, I never got comfortable with them, and my brain never adjusted to their sound. In a quiet setting, voices came in a little clearer, but everything else sounded muffled and wrong. Loud background noises like running water or traffic drowned voices out. Overall, I felt my hearing was slightly worse with Lyrics than without aids at all. I told the audiologist, It’s just not a meeting of the minds between Lyric and me!

I demo-ed two other hearing aids, the Oticon Agil Pro and the ReSound Alera 61, and liked them both very much. I felt I would be happy with either one, and chose Alera based on the enhanced Bluetooth features (something I didn’t even think I cared about when I first went in).

Again I’m glad for all of you who have found happiness with Lyrics, but just a note to encourage anyone else who gives Lyrics a go but decides, No, for whatever reason. There are many different options out there, so keep trying. You may have to go in a different direction than you first wanted, but it doesn’t mean you can’t find happiness with hearing aids. Thank goodness for choice!

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#18

Lyric has just posted a number of new pages and information about fitting, benefits, batteries, adjustments etc. Generally a great deal of information regarding what to expect from Lyric hearing devices.

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#19

I am on my 5th day since having Lyric’s “installed” this week. The doctor’s fee was $3500 for an annual subscription. This fee was on the high side, but, I live in Chicago so I assume they can charge what they want. The hearing is very good, however, my ears are still very sore. It is particularly sore when waking up, because you wear these all through the night and I think the pressure of laying on them irritates the ear canal. They are “invisible” as advertised and I am happy with the results. My biggest concern is if the pain from wearing them goes away. I have a 30-day full refund if not satisfied.

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#20

It’s been about a month - how are the Lyric hearing aids working for you?

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