Lyric Hearing Aids

Image courtesy http://images.businessweek.com/ss/09/04/0427_mdea_awards/21.htm

OK. I don’t really know much about hearing aids. But I do know about sound, microphones and transducers. I recently saw an ad for a new type of hearing aid called Lyric. It is unique in that it’s placed inside the ear canal, essentially right up against the ear drum.

It’s manufacturers claim that it is invisible, comfortable and highly effective. They also claim that since it requires significantly less power, it can go for months between battery changes.

Now, a lot of this makes sense to me. Microphones have a characteristic called proximity effect. This is an increase in output level and low frequency response as the sound source is moved closer. In a concert environment, for example, the microphones that are used for low frequency instruments are placed closer to their sources than are those used for higher frequency instruments.

My natural mistrust kicks up however, when I think about the possibility for ear infection, irritation and inflammation. As a hearing person, the thought of embedding something in my ear is pretty scary.

Furthermore, wouldn’t you need two of these devices? Do they only work for the Hard of Hearing, or can they offer any benefit for the profoundly Deaf.

If you’re familiar with the Lyric, I would be interested in any feedback you can provide. Feel free to comment and enlighten.

7 thoughts on “Lyric Hearing Aids

  1. My hearing aid technologist and I discussed these.

    From what I remember they are not for the profoundly deaf or seriously hard of hearing. They don’t have enough power. It is my understanding that they are pretty much disposable hearing aids, but I could be wrong.

    There are others that fit down in the ear, maybe not as far as these, and they need to be removed daily. I was a bit leery of anything that stays inside, that long, but I guess there are advantages for those who want to hear while sleeping.

    I am also guessing they are waterproof else it would be a huge problem to wash hair, shower, or go swimming. And one would need it in only the ear one is augmenting. Not everyone has a bilateral hearing loss.

    It is removed at the hearing aid provider’s office and a new one inserted, as I recollect. Entirely too much fuss and bother for me.

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    1. Thanks so much for the insights, Marsha. The ad made me curious.

      For as long as I can remember, I’ve been thinking about some of the technical possibilities to assist the Deaf and Blind. I have a close friend who has Usher’s Syndrome, and I’ve often fantasized about inserting pin-hole video and tiny audio transducers with direct wiring into his brain. Of course, he’ll never let me try my ideas…

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  2. I wish. The Geordi LaForge (sp.) thing is also good. Ahhh well. Some day.

    Thanks for the link, I did find it interesting. I was kind of stunned by $3100 bucks a year, though. I wonder, does insurance or Disability pick any of that up?

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