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News: The Phonak Lyric Hearing Aid – A Clinician’s Perspective

The Phonak Lyric Hearing Aid – A Clinician’s Perspective

The Phonak Lyric Hearing Aid – A Clinician’s Perspective

09/03/2014 - Audiologists, Hearing Aids, Technology, Treatment

Clarity’s early experiences with the Phonak Lyric invisible hearing aid

I first heard about Lyric at an American Academy of Audiology conference several years ago. Like most clinicians my initial thoughts were sceptical.

  • How could it be healthy for a device to sit in your ear canal for months at a time?
  • Surely going from digital to analogue technology is a step backward?
  • How can a battery last 2-3 months of continual use?
  • Is it safe to be working so close to the tympanic membrane?
  • How does it not block up with cerumen?
  • How would it cope with the hot and humid conditions here in Australia?

After speaking with several US and UK Lyric providers who had been fitting them for several years successfully, and reading some of the research literature on Lyric, we decided to take the plunge and let our own experiences with the device shape our opinion of it.

Testing Lyric in Australian conditions

To test the devices, especially how they fared in the Queensland environment, we decided to compare it to the closest alternative products available. We had been fitting IIC hearing aids of all manufacturers since their inception, so we had a relatively large database of deep canal wearers that we offered to trial Lyric. We initially selected five of our clients who had high or premium range IIC’s from a variety of manufacturers, so we knew Lyric would be up against the best digital signal processing devices available.

Our patients report on the Lyric

After trialling for a month all five patients reported the Lyric was the clearest hearing aid they had ever worn. Four out of the five patients continued on with the subscription, and it was only cost which prevented the fifth client from subscribing. With this initial success our faith in the product increased substantially and now close to 12 months on we have now fitted in excess of 100 Lyrics.

Powerful rehabilitation tool

The more Lyrics we have fitted the more we have come to recognise the Lyric as an essential and powerful Audiological rehabilitation tool for clients. From self-reported outcome measures alone we have dozens of patients who have been wearing hearing aids for decades describe the product as life changing and as close to having normal hearing that they have ever had, both from a lifestyle and sound quality point of view.

Success stories

The following are just a few of the success stories from long term hearing aid wearers who were fitted with Lyric. Firstly we have almost several mothers who now sleep at night confident knowing that they will hear their baby or children crying. We have several football players who for the first time are able to wear a hearing aid on the football field and can hear the referee whistles and calls from other players. We have dozens of older less dextrous clients and their families who feel confident that they or their loved ones are able to hear amongst other things the phone ring, smoke alarms, burglars, someone knocking at the door, etc maintaining their independence at home.

Initial concerns quashed

None of my initial concerns have been of any significant issue. We have had no major problems with ear canal or tympanic membrane health. Reliability is similar to hearing aids in the more tropical areas — with the added bonus that, if there is a reliability issue, we can just remove it and insert a replacement immediately. There are no major issues with comfort or cerumen, sound quality is always reported as excellent. Feedback is rare and easily rectified through resizing or repositioning.

First year down and no looking back

Almost 12 months on since first fitting Lyrics we have found the success and satisfaction rate for can be close to 100%. It should be noted that to achieve this several factors must be acknowledged. Right from the start clients need to meet a strict Audiological, medical, lifestyle and motivational criteria before we even contemplate fitting a Lyric. If this is criteria is met (without going into the ins and outs of fitting procedure) comfort and excellent sound quality is easily achieved with thorough measurements and ear canal inspection, proper ear canal prepping, and patient and accurate insertion.

Finally, like most hearing aids, counselling and having a good rehabilitation program is also paramount to success.

Grant Collins
Owner and Principal Audiologist

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