Lyric Hearing Aids can also be used as ear plugs?

As several of you already know, I have been trialing hearing aids for a couple of months now. I was talking to an audiologist the other day and she was asking about my work and life style. I was telling her I was in and out of machine shops all day, and I am getting in the habit of taking out my hearing aids, and putting in my custom ear plugs. She asked if I had look into wearing the Lyric’s. Honestly I hadn’t, looks aren’t that important to me as much as speech clarity and I was really just looking at the traditional BTE’s.

Then she mentioned that if I turn the Lyric’s off, they are an effective ear plug, with around a 30db noise reduction. Now this would be great, right now I have to take out my hearing aids, put them in a case, and put in my custom ear plugs. I’m always a little worried about mis-placing one or the other, but the Lyric’s would solve some of that.

Couple of questons–

  1. Would the Lyric’s work for my hearing loss?
  2. Would they be any better or worse for speech clarity or speech in noise than a digital?
  3. My low frequency is pretty good, will that be a problem as opposed to an open fit Phonak?
  4. Are they really an effective ear plug with that much db reduction?

She has already mentioned that not everybody can wear them as some people can find them very uncomfortable. (I was measured and fitted, so that part is not a problem). I am used to wearing ear plugs for an extended time, so I don’t think it would be bothersome.

Thanks for taking the time to help me out (again)!

Unless the Lyric has no vent, it will not work as an earplug as far as I know. I could be wrong…but I’d hate to bet your residual hearing on it.

In any case, they aren’t custom fit so there’s going to be a very good chance of peripheral venting, I’d have thought.

The only ones I’ve heard of that act like noise plugs are the ones that get blocked with wax and get stuck in-situ, but that’s a whole other story.

The earplug feature was the one thing I liked about Lyric when I trialed two pairs of them (the first one had to come out due to pain, but we tried again a month or two later, also unsuccessful). Well make it the second thing, besides the invisibility. My experience is only anecdotal, and I can’t tell you for sure that noise reduction is -30 dB or safe in a noisy environment, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that is the case.

I suspect it has something to do with the fit. Since I was having pain with them, I suspect there was no venting at all in my fit–and I had the smallest ones then available. Maybe when the fit is better, there is some leakage. It certainly didn’t sound like mine had any leakage at all.

But I never slept better, LOL! Also handy with a gabby in-law or others with a profound over-estimation of the importance of their own voices. You just hold up an ordinary magnet (and they give you one on a keychain) up to your ear, the aid powers down, and you’re in earplug mode. Do it again to power back on.

For me the issues with Lyric besides pain were high cost long-term, less-than-great sound performance, and higher propensity to infection. But I do think that if the money is not a dealbreaker for you, they’re worth trying. Some people swear by them.

1: Impossible to say for sure without knowing your full history (e.g. any special ear issues like drainage or other contradictions), but if the professional you’re working with is recommending the Lyric, then unless they missed something it should work for you. Or if you mean if it can provide the gain you require Google: lyric fitting range

2: The Lyric is (last I checked) an analog hearing and would not have the enhancements made possible by the jump to digital ~10 years ago. This is because the Lyric MUST have a significantly better battery life than the other major hearing aid brands (how else would it be able to stay in your ear for months at a time). In order to have that long of a battery life you need a very low-power (basic) circuit that isn’t going to include a robust noise-reduction system or many of the other features we take for granted in modern hearing aids.

3: The occlusion effect is generally less of a problem with deep-canal aids (VS traditional custom aids) for patients with good LF hearing.

4: I don’t personally work with Lyric hearing aids so can’t say definitively either way. I would personally expect that some minimal amount of venting would be required to avoid the occlusion effect and that ANY vent passing through the hearing aid would largely negate its performance as an earplug.

Note: I’m generally not a fan of deep-canal instruments and am likely to focus more strongly on the negative than the positive when discussing this subject.