Good Sound, Good Experience, No Hassle
In my last article, I discussed my experience with the fitting of the Phonak Lyric hearing aids and my early observations of the devices. In this article, I would like to discuss my day to day experience of the sound of the hearing aids and how I got on with them. I would also like to talk a little about the Lyric devices, they really are unique in the hearing aid world and almost a contradiction. They are based on old technology that has been manipulated in a truly innovative way. In a world devoted to new tech and ever growing features, they are extraordinary because they are old tech and have no features. Yet, having said all of that, they damn well work, in fact, they damn well work pretty well. Let's talk about the Phonak Lyric.
The Phonak Lyric is an analogue based hearing aid that delivers linear gain. The output of the devices is controlled by the programming and is based on output compression. The devices are basically featureless, no noise reduction, no feedback management, no impact noise management, nothing. Just amplification and output compression. You really can't get more simple than that. In fact, if you told me that you were introducing a brand new hearing aid with that outline, I would happily tell you that you were quite mad and they weren't going to work.
Not Only Do They Work, They Work Well
Hey, what do I know, not only do these things work, they work exceptionally well. Once placed and turned on, they deliver a sound that honestly feels or sounds like normal. I mean my first impression was woah, this is pretty cool. As I said in the last article, Dave, who is a master Jedi grade of the fitting of the device, sounded just like Dave, except clearer. When speaking to Dave he had said that many of the people who wear the device speak about hearing like normal, I now understood exactly what they meant.
Hey, all hearing aids sound good in the clinic room, the real test is when you are out and about in the real world. I honestly thought that with the lack of features, they probably wouldn't stand up well in noisy environments and general day to day situations. Again, I was wrong, this being wrong business is getting a little irksome.
A Damned Stone Grinder
I and Dave were standing at the back of the clinic having a chat, basically allowing me to get a clearer idea of whether I was going to cope with the devices in my ear canals. As we spoke, it became obvious that I was going to be okay with the devices, I had no major bunged up feeling and I didn't seem to be in any danger of trying to pull my ears off with frustration. As I said, even the sense of the devices being present had begun to fade already.
Then, someone in the car park began to cut granite coppice stones with a grinder. When they began, I was facing Dave and the grinder in the near distance, it got really hard to understand what Dave was saying. So I moved us around so that my back was to the Grinder noise with Dave facing me, It got much easier to hear him speak.
This is pretty fascinating for two reasons, firstly, anyone with an analogue hearing aid will tell you that they probably wouldn't be able to hear anything but the grinder. Secondly, the effect of turning my back to the noise brought the natural directionality feature of my ears into play and it made a real difference.
Placement and Analogue?
Like I said, these aids shouldn't really work, but they do, I wondered was this a function of analogue and placement. Analogue sound is basically how we hear naturally, the placement of the Lyric deep in the canal allows all of our natural abilities to come into play. Is that the answer, is that why these hearing aids work so well? I don't know, I can only guess that it may well be at least part of it. The one thing I can tell you is that they do work well.
Pretty Damn Good
My day to day experiences of these hearing aids was excellent. I heard exceptionally well in all of the situations that I found myself in. I ensured that I spent a lot of time moving from different sound environment to sound environment and pretty much tried out everything. In noisy situations I found that I heard pretty well, I also noticed that turning my back to the noise made a real difference.
Music sounded excellent, it was easy to speak on the phone and sleeping and taking a shower with the hearing aids in was a real experience. From time to time, I suffered from a little occlusion, but nothing I couldn't handle. As I said in the first article, I really am not a candidate for these aids, but nevertheless, I got on well.
These hearing aids have real appeal, I mean they get put in and you just get on with it. No taking them out or putting them in, no worrying about the batteries. No real constraints, I mean hearing aids don't constrain you, but you have to think about them. By that I mean when you are going for a shower, they have to come out. If you play sport, you need to think about protecting them, or taking them out.
With the Lyric, you just get on with your life, never having to think about them. In fact, I can honestly see how people would just forget about them until they needed to be replaced. Like I said, I can really see the appeal of these devices.
A Subscription Model
The Lyric is provided under a subscription model, which basically means that you pay for a new one or a new set, every three months or so. I don't know the exact cost, but they are relatively costly by all accounts. In a year, the subscription I believe might be as much as a basic set of hearing aids may cost you. So even if you are suitable for these hearing aids, your budget might not be.
In finishing, these are really good hearing aids that have a lot to offer. If you want a set of hearing aids that you can wear and forget, well then nothing beats these. If that is important to you, if hearing better with no fuss or constraints is really what you want, well then the Lyric hearing aid is worth your attention. Finally, if you are looking for the Phonak Lyric in Dublin, you could do a lot worse than go to see these people.
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Posted by Geoff
Geoffrey (Geoff, anything else makes him nervous) Cooling is an Irish hearing aid blogger and has been involved with the hearing aid industry for over ten years. He has worked in private practice dispensing hearing aids and as a manufacturer's rep. He has written two books and they are both available on Amazon. He loves technology, passing on knowledge and is legendary for many other things, primarily the amount he curses, his dry and mischievous sense of humour and his complete intolerance of people who are full of themselves. Please feel free to connect with him
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