My Lyric Experience

I posted this message in the digital hearing aid forum because, although Lyrics are analog, most users considering the Lyric will be comparing the Lyric experience to modern digital hearing aids, not to traditional analog models.

My Story

On the recommendation of two friends who successfully use Lyrics I decided to try them myself. I have had hearing aids for a couple of years but have only worn them sporadically. My first HA’s were custom molded in the ear models - they worked well but I could not stand the substantial occlusion I experienced whenever I wore them. They were pretty quickly returned for behind-the-ear, open fit HA’s which eliminated the occusion issue competely. However, as time passed I was not happy with the audio quality of my current HA’s (at least some of this was due to the fact that my hearing loss had been going on for so long that it was very difficult to adapt to a renewed, noisy world). Nor was I comfortable that they would not be damaged due to my active lifestyle. I do lots of outdoor activities including hiking, trail running, fly fishing, skiing and snowshoeing. All of these have the risk of causing irreparable moisture or dust damage to my HA’s. On several occasions I nearly forgot and wore the HA’s in the shower after a workout. My default became not installing the HA’s until all my athletic activities were over for the day, by which time I more often than not didn’t bother to install them at all.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I was tested, evaluated and found to be a candidate for the new Lyric 2 hearing aids. The only contraindication was that I take blood thinners but my cardiologist cleared me to try the Lyrics and they were fitted, installed and programmed for my 30 day trial. I was to return to see the audiologist in one week for a progress update.

I experienced no discomfort at installation of the Lyrics and could definitely hear better with them. Like my other HA’s, I immediately heard lots of sounds (high frequencies mostly) that I had not heard in years. Some of this was a bit overwhelming but not particularly hard to get used to. My Lyrics were programmed with four settings in the right ear and six settings in the left ear (my worst hearing loss ear). I was not to try to reposition or remove the Lyrics on my own during the trial period and was warned that there might be some discomfort (described as somewhat like a moderate headache) for the first few days. That was to be treated with analgesics and anti-inflammatories, in my case Tylenol and/or Advil. It was recommeded that I sleep only on my back for the first week since my ears might “sweat” with the Lyrics installed if I layed on either side.

I immdediately realized the convenience of the Lyrics. I wear glasses and my HA’s were no longer fighting with the temples of my glasses for space behind my ear. I didn’t accidently reposition my HA’s while pulling a shirt over my head. I had no worries about showers or rain. I had no feedback issues - that had been a constant problem with my BTE HA’s. While not quite as convenient as a one button push setting, using the Lyric magnet tool was very easy - I kept it in my pocket with a cheat-sheet attached so I would remember the various beep sequences used to indicate the various setting changes. All-in-all I was on a role with my new found HA freedom.

Mid-afternoon on that first day little things started to draw a cloud over my new HA happiness. When walking my dogs on a paved trail I could feel my feet thump as they struck the ground with each stride. It was not so much audible as it was felt in my bones. I would also have occasional silent time-outs if I turned my head a certain way. I attributed the first to a bit of occlusion that I also started to notice when I heard myself speak or when I chewed food. The latter seemed to be positional - turning my head or touching my head near the ears seemed to occasionally “close down” the ear canal for a moment.

Then, by evening of the first day I started to get a mild ear ache. It was not too bad but seemed to get worse as the day drew to a close. I decided my ears had been overworked so took a strong dose of Advil and went to bed, sleeping on my back for the first time in years. I set the Lyrics to their “sleep” mode which is supposed to return my hearing to its unaided level - however to me it felt/sounded more like when I wear foam earplugs. In any event, I had the best night’s sleep in years. I share my bedroom with my dogs, two of which occasionally make a lot of noise - one snores loudly, the other rattles around in his crate like he’s rearranging his furniture. That first night I didn’t hear a thing and slept great. When I woke up the next morning the earache was gone - I turned on the Lyrics and all was again good in the world of sound.

I had a couple of long telephone calls that morning and the Lyrics worked great. During the day my ears sometimes felt “plugged” but my hearing continued to be fine. That evening I attended a cocktail party with about 30 people. I was looking forward to joining the conversation and, for the first time in awhile, actually hearing what people had to say. There was a lot of chatter and I found it became voice-cancelling background noise with my Lyrics installed. It was harder for me to hear conversations than I remembered before using the Lyrics and it became a constant “roar” almost like standing next to a busy freeway. I experimented with the various Lyric settings but to no avail. All-in-all it was not a comfortable HA experience. Again, by the time I returned home my ears hurt and I needed Advil & Tylenol to get relief but again slept great.

For the next few of days I mostly forgot the Lyrics were installed. I was hearing things I hadn’t heard in years and getting used to the new, noiser world in which I lived. I could hear TV dialogue and conversations with my wife when we were places where background noise didn’t drown her out. At lunch in restaurants the background noise continued to ruin most conversations. I tried sleeping on my sides and found it was not an issue. I continued to have occasional feelings of full, plugged ears and some pain. The occlusion came and went - it was never constant but never totally went away either. The pain became less of an ache and more of an occasional stabbing pain when I touched my ear, used the Lyric tool or turned my head wrong. It was never unbearable so I persevered until my one week follow-up.

At the follow-up we decided to remove the Lyrics to see how my ear canals looked. I wanted to try the Lyric removal tool so I pulled the Lyrics out myself. The first one hurt a lot on the way out. The other came out without a hitch. When the audiologist looked in my ears, each one had a blood blister which had popped and was bleeding in the ear canal. We stopped the bleeding and decided to wait a couple of weeks to reinstall the Lyrics to give my ear canals time to fully heal. The audiologist thinks that a smaller size Lyric might eliminate the issues of ear pain and plugged feeling so we plan to try that when I return for a re-install of the Lyrics. She also thinks she can change the limited programming options on the Lyrics and reduce the annoying background noise issue.

Two Weeks Later…

Shortly after removing the Lyrics I noticed that my ears didn’t feel plugged any more and there was no longer much pain in my ears. I had my ears checked a few days ago and there is still a substantial hemotoma in my right ear. Tomorrow we are due to re-install the Lyrics but I’m not inclined to put them back in at this time.

The Lyrics truly lived up to their “no hassle” description - install them and forget them except to change the channels from time to time. I’m not as experienced with the features of modern digital HA’s as many of you so I didn’t notice any loss of sound quality or feature because the Lyrics are analog. The Lyric’s sound quality seemed fine to me. I experienced no feedback with the Lyrics. However a few things bugged me enough to be deal breakers at this time:

  1. The bruising or abrasion of my ear canal is a cause for serious concern. Having the ear sealed tight for a couple of months with an open wound is just asking for an infection.

  2. The ear pain, while not excruciating, was finally getting to me by the end of the trial week.

  3. The Lyrics, at least as tuned for my trial, made the background noise noticably worse that with my BTE HS’s

  4. The occlusion was annoying.

  5. The “plugged” feeling was also annoying at those times when my brain became aware of it.

  6. This is a personal problem of mine, but because I could not remove and replace the Lyrics for an occasional break, I started to feel like a prisoner in a cage where my HA function and comfort depended totally on someone else (my audiologist) - I didn’t anticipate this issue, at least partly because my friend who is a long-time Lyric wearer routinely removes and replaces her own Lyrics. Over time this issue has the potential to drive me nuts, unless I adjusted and just forgot the Lyrics were even installed. I do backcountry adventures - the current Lyric requirement that wearers ALWAYS see their audiologist for physical adjustment of the HA’s would be a deal breaker. I’d have to leave the Lyrics home and rely on my old HA’s anyway, or risk completing my adventures with no hearing assistance at all if the Lyrics had to be unexpectedly removed with the little tool.

Many people will probably not be troubled by some of these things and will undoubtedly find the Lyrics to be a wonderful alternative to conventional HA’s. I hope this narrative is useful to some readers out there who are considering this type of device.


1 Like

Great write up… I was going to try those myself but after thinking about the visiting an audi all the time I decided not to do it. I didn’t even think of pain and blisters… that’s annoying! Thanks for letting us know.

I also had bleeding and some strong pain with Lyric (version 1.0). Not everyone does. They do have their advantages, and I think they’re worth a try, but they didn’t work for me–I’m a happy BTE user now. Some other people have posted here about serious infection problems after wearing the Lyrics for months. The other downside is the very high long-term cost.

We’ve had fewer posts about them lately. (Go back in the archives and you’ll see a lot more a couple of years ago.) I wonder if they’ve been losing market share.

My Lyric hearing aids have been installed since the Spring of 2012. Two problems:

  1. The first quarterly replacement was at the time of the release 2 which required new fitting and placement. it was not handled very well by the local Sonus Hearing Instrument Specialist and required almost a week to get back to normal.
  2. Sonus who handled the product in the Northwest is no longer a dealer and the Hearing Specialist I used has departed. I go in tomorrow for my 4th replacement with a specialist that I do not know and it feels like a lame Duck session with a terminated franchise and a new specialist. I fault Lyric for not having a plan for this type of problem that would direct existing users to one of their existing dealers to insure compatibility. Very poor corporate planning.

The product is exceptional in my opinion if the user can afford the annual rental of approximately $3000. I play golf with the Lyric’s installed, workout, take showers and spend time in the steam room at my gym. I seldom adjust the volume except when attending concerts, sporting events or in crowded bars and restaurants. I have always slept on my back so the Lyric SOP was no change for me. I would not look forward to going back to a conventional hearing aid that would sit on my dresser for 75% of the time when the power was available, what a pain…

But, I’m concerned about Lyric’s financial stability and on going competent Dealer representation in the Northwest which will impact my decision to renew for another year. I’m not used to paying up front vs. pay as you use.

Great feedback.

I started using Lyric products about 3-4 years ago.

When they worked well they were great.

But I had a lot of " fit " issues. Pain, ear infections, aids migrating out with jaw movement and I now only have two patients who continue to use them.

Sonova ( who owns InSound ( Lyric’s maker ) and Phonak ), has determined that the only people who can handle Lyrics in the future will be those who can GUARANTEE the mfg a certain number of sales per month. If the audiologist does NOT sell the agreed upon Lyrics, then the MFG is going to bill the audiologist for them anyway.

In my neck of the woods, there are a couple of practices who market the s–t out of Lyric, and basically use them as a mkting tool.