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Newer Hearing Aids for People with Hearing Loss

Updated on November 12, 2014
The Invisible Hearing Aid
The Invisible Hearing Aid

Hearing aid devices have been around for decades. In fact, in the U.S, unfortunately, more than a third of adults older than age 65 have detectable hearing loss, which contributes to emotional isolation and social withdrawal. Other than old age, other people at risk for hearing loss, are those with history of congenital or familial hearing loss, rubella, meningitis, syphilis, exposure to hazardous noise levels at work or battlefield and sometimes it can be accident related.

It has been said that "In the Land Of The Deaf, the man with hearing in one ear is certainly a King!" Many of those people who have either born deaf, or have lost all their hearing in both ears due to any of the above reasons would be very happy if they could regain or gain some hearing in at least one ear. No doubt, the developer of hearing aid devices are all aware of this, and over the years they have been spending a lot of their time and effort trying to design not only a new technology, but the best technology that could bring some sound to the silent land of the deaf.

Hearing aid technology has certainly come a long way. Based on findings, earlier efforts to help the deaf with hearing focused primarily on amplifying the intensity of sounds. it was hoped that an increase in the vibrations of hair cells would translate into increased stimulation of the auditory nerve. Some researchers however,have tried to take on the problem of deafness by bypassing the damaged hair cells and transmitting electrical impulses directly to the nerve fibers.

The result has been the cochlear implant, in which a series of electrodes is sewn into the choclea and attached to a small receiver-stimulator implanted behind the ear. This implant was responsible for delivering information about tone, tempo, and intensity. Profoundly deaf adults whose auditory systems still function beyond the cochlea seem most likely to benefit from these devices.

Individuals who have been born deaf however, are unable to use cochlear implants successfully, possibly because the structures in the temporal cortex that usually process speech have been taken over for other other function s in the congenitally deaf.

A recent breakthrough in technology is believed to have lead to the development of the first and only Hearing Aid Device that can be worn 24/7(24hrs a day, 7dys a week), for up to four months at a time(The life of the batteries). When a battery of this hearing aid dies, the entire device is replaced.

This hearing aid called Lyric, is said to be the world's first invisible extended-wearing device. According to product information, unlike many hearing aids, Lyric can be used during almost all your daily activities, such as exercising, showering, talking on the phone or even sleeping, and the quality of sound amplifies by lyric is clear and natural. The design and placement of this hearing aid(i.e close to the ear drum), works well with your ear's anatomy to deliver exceptional sound quality in both quiet and noisy environments according to doctors.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, this new hearing device is placed deep in your hear canal by a trained specialist within a few minutes. Because this device is not an implant, no anesthesia or surgery is required, and it can be easily removed with a small magnet. A magnet is also used to control the volume and turn it on and off. The placement of this device is said to help decrease background noise, improve speech clarity, and deliver natural sound quality.

Based on other bits of information about this product, the way this hearing aid works is that it uses your outer ear to naturally direct sound into the ear canal. This device is believed to be safe to use because it doesn't clog the ear canal and therefore, does not trap moisture which may pose and infection risk.

As far as cost is concerned, based on available information on pricing,patients don't have to pay for a new device every time; instead, they pay an annual subscription fee of $2,900 to $3,600 for both ears. Please bear in mind that Insurance plans typically don't cover cost of this device or any other hearing devices.

You should also be aware that Lyric does not work for everyone, according to manufacturer. In particular some ear canals are too narrow to accommodate it, and the company estimates that it is not suitable for up to half of potential patients. According to developer of this technology, a planned newer version should work for about 85% of patients.

Conclusion

Sometimes some hearing losses may go undetected, because whereas vision testing is a prerequisite for driving, there is no mandate widespread testing for hearing and many seniors especially avoid the use of hearing aids. Also,understandably, many people currently own hearing aids that just don't work that well; they may pick up background noise, squeal with feedback, and cannot be used over the telephone. As a result, some of these individuals have become frustrated to the point where they have decided to quit using them.

If you are presently experiencing any of these frustration or any other problems with your hearing device, it's best to consult an expert or your doctor who can answer all your questions and make recommendations in regards to which hearing aid is best suited for your hearing loss. Finally, please note that I am not promoting or endorsing Lyric, neither am I giving any kind of recommendation to anyone in regards to this product. You should always try to do your own research whenever you are presented with any information concerning any new technology.

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    • mackyi profile imageAUTHOR

      I.W. McFarlane 

      6 years ago from Philadelphia

      Thanks for your feedback Garcie. You have raised a rather important point here, when you mentioned about having this device removed before undergoing an IMR. Like all other metals,this should also be removed. Thus the health care provider should be aware of this, prior to doing an IMR. Since it's not an implant, I think it shouldn't be a problem removing it. However, the health care provider should have the proper training required to remove this.

      As to when it will finally make it across the Atlantic? this is a question I am afraid I don't have the answer to. The only thing I can say is that maybe it's on its way or it has already landed on shore. Who knows!

    • mackyi profile imageAUTHOR

      I.W. McFarlane 

      6 years ago from Philadelphia

      Thanks for your feedback Garcie. You have brought up a rather interesting point about removing all metals and magnetic devices including Lyric before undergoing an MRI. Providing the health care provider is aware that the patient is wearing this device, i am sure it wont be a problem removing it since this device is not an implant and can be removed easily, according to the marketer of this Hearing Aid.

      When will it make it across the Atlantic? This is a question I am afraid I don't have the answer to! Who knows, maybe it's on its way or it has already landed on shore!

    • profile image

      Kieran Gracie 

      6 years ago

      An interesting and useful article for anyone with a hearing impediment. Let's hope this device manages to cross the Atlantic.

      One thought - a person fitted with this device should have it removed before undergoing an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan. These scans are certainly being used more frequently here in Europe, and the operators should be trained to ask about any metal objects inserted in the patient's ears before they undergo a scan.

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