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This hearing aid requires insertion by a qualified professional. The price of £1560 is per hearing aid per year as they are purchased on a monthly basis.
Written by Paul Harrison
Phonak Lyric – Holy Grail or Wholly Failed?
Imagine for just a moment, a hearing aid that was invisible, stayed in your ear 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, required no batteries to be changed, was comfortable to wear and sounded great. Well that’s the idea behind the Phonak Lyric. If we are to believe the marketing hype then we may think that the ultimate hearing aid has finally arrived – or has it?
There are many comments published on the internet from wearers. It appears to have what I call “Marmite appeal” – you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it. It is difficult to gauge the true success of this hearing aid as nobody has conducted a real study of its performance etc. This is actually true of all hearing aids and is understandable as the only people with enough resources to fund this would be the manufacturers (and that may render it biased). Phonak did do a limited comparison in 2011 using only 12 hearing aid wearers and this merely concluded that there was “no disadvantage in wearing the Lyric versus other digital hearing aids”. Hardly research to blow your hair back. Given that there are clearly mixed opinions out there, I will endeavour to present both sides of the argument as fairly as I can.
So what is the Phonak Lyric?
It is a tiny hearing aid that fits completely in the ear canal and in many cases is invisible. It is worn for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for about 3 or 4 months. It is inserted by an appropriately trained person and every 3 or 4 months it is removed and another one inserted (by the professional). There is no handling by the wearer of either the aid or batteries as the aid is essentially disposable.
Pros and cons
The general idea behind Lyric is good and Phonak should be applauded for their valiant effort. The price is ridiculously expensive. Whilst there is a convenience factor in not having to change the batteries there is a greater inconvenience factor by having to visit your audiologist every 12 weeks minimum. If you rely on your hearing aids then you may come unstuck when the battery stops working or the aids need to be removed as they cannot be reinserted. The technology is analogue and the sound processing is very basic.
If you’re looking for an invisible hearing aid then there are lots to choose from. A particularly good one is called the Virto Nano and it is made by Phonak themselves. Hopefully this should satisfy anyone thinking we were biased against Phonak – we are not. There are 3 different levels of technology and they range in price from £995 to £1595. Over a 5 year period (minimum life of the hearing aids) you would save over £6000 per ear compared to the Lyric. The technology is superb and the aids are virtually the same size if not smaller. The aids would be custom made for the individual’s ear so would be extremely comfortable to wear. There would be no problem removing the aids to go swimming and no need to visit your audiologist every 12 weeks. I understand that they sometimes offer a free 30 day trial of the Lyric. I wonder just how many of these people go on to subscribe to Lyric and how many choose to get a digital hearing aid. Phonak would no doubt benefit either way so perhaps the real benefit of a Lyric is that it generates interest. Is it Holy grail of hearing aids? Perhaps not but by the fact that you’ve read this review suggests that the Lyric has perhaps done it’s job and done it very well.
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