Phonak is the flagship hearing aid brand of Sonova, the world’s largest hearing aid manufacturer. The company offers one of the broadest lines of hearing aids in the world, and within those lines you can find almost any feature, style, color, and technology that you can imagine. Based in Zurich, Switzerland, Phonak has more than 60 years of experience producing premium hearing aids, and has positioned itself as one of the most innovative and consistent hearing aid brands on the market. Phonak continues to push the envelope in an attempt to give everyone with hearing loss a shot at a premium listening experience.
The Phonak Lyric is different from any other hearing aid we have ever seen. It is deeply inserted into the wearer’s ears and then left in place for months at a time with no reason to change the battery or clean the device. It is the ultimate in terms of convenience and consistency because you never take them out. You miss out on the connectivity that many of today’s devices offer, but you make up for it in convenience, quality, and invisibility. Because of how deeply the device is inserted it is almost invisible to the naked eye, and it is so small and comfortable that you may even forget you are wearing it. If you decide on and are approved for a Phonak Lyric, you will purchase a year-long subscription that includes replacement Lyric devices, servicing throughout the year, and visits to your provider to have the old device removed and the new one installed. If you are looking for a discreet, high-quality hearing aid that takes little to no upkeep in between fittings, the Phonak Lyric may just be for you. The following is a description and review of the Phonak Lyric invisible hearing aid.
Things to Consider Before Buying
There is one obvious feature that stands out in the Phonak Lyric hearing aid: invisibility. It is a small hearing aid that is inserted deeply into your ear and is imperceptible to the outside world. Once your hearing aid is placed by a trained audiologist, all you do is live your life with a hearing aid that you do not have to change, charge, or mess with at all until your next replacement appointment. Other than the invisibility feature, the Lyric is also a high-quality device. It gives you a very natural listening experience as well. While most hearing aids process sound outside of your ear, the Lyric uses the size, shape, and natural acoustics of your ear to provide one of the clearest and most natural listening experiences possible with a hearing aid. While it is not for everyone, those who are able to use a Lyric hearing aid get a natural listening experience with the ease and convenience of a device that is installed once and then stays in place for months at a time.
- Closely mimics natural hearing.
- Once an audiologist inserts it into your ear, you just live life like normal and the hearing aid works by itself. You do not adjust it and you do not even turn it off an on.
- They are completely invisible.
- You can wear them 24 hours per day and for months at a time.
- You have to purchase a subscription which means that you will always be able to get a new hearing aid when the other runs out.
- The Lyric uses the natural shape and size of your ear to create a clear and natural sound.
- Can be worn while showering, working out, sleeping, and any other time of the day.
- The convenience of wearing the device all day and all night cannot be matched by traditional hearing aids.
- No need to change the battery, it can last for months.
- Your own voice will sound much more natural, the occlusion effect is very minimal.
- There is some evidence that simply wearing these hearing aids on a daily basis can help relieve the symptoms of tinnitus.
- A very comfortable hearing aid.
- No Bluetooth or streaming capability.
- There is no app available to control the device like many modern hearing aids.
- Wax buildup can greatly affect the hearing aid at times.
- Only for mild to moderate hearing aids.
- If the battery wears out before your next specialist appointment, there will be a period of time where you do not have hearing aids.
- You can only have them inserted into your ear by a licensed audiologist.
- They are not waterproof so you cannot wear them to swim or submerse your head under water.
Features & Benefits
Design/Type of Hearing Aid
The Phonak Lyric was designed to fit inside your ear canal, and to be inserted deeply enough to be invisible. This is one of the main strengths of the Lyric hearing aid. It was developed for people with mild to moderate hearing loss, so if you suffer from more severe hearing loss you will not be a candidate for the Lyric device.
Fit and Wearability
The initial fitting at an audiologist office takes approximately 1 hour. At that initial appointment the audiologist will size, place, and program the device. Because of where the Lyric is inserted in your ear canal, the fit has to be customized so that it stays in place. The deep insertion is invisible to others, but it also adds to the comfort of the device. The fact that you wear it 24 hours per day means that you get used to it quickly and may even forget that it is there.
The batteries in the Phonak Lyric are neither rechargeable or disposable. The Lyric batteries can last up to months at a time, and when the batteries run out of charge you simply get a new Lyric hearing aid through your subscription. Individual replacement needs vary based on your level of hearing loss, your individual ear conditions, and the environmental noise level you are most often in.
- Sound Quality
The sound quality of the Lyric comes primarily from the fact that it sits deep inside your ear canal. Because it only receives sound inside your ear rather than primarily outside of your ear like most hearing aids, it can use the natural size, shape, and acoustics of your ear to create a natural listening experience. On top of that, the occlusion that you normally feel/hear when a device “clogs” up your ear is not as evident with the Lyric. You do not get the same directionality, noise cancellation, or adaptivity that you find in other hearing aids, but those things are replaced by the natural acoustics and listening experience that this type of hearing aid provides.
While it may take a little while to adapt to your new hearing aids, once you do, they may be the easiest to forget hearing aid on the market. You wear them 24/7 and get so used to them being there that you do not even think about them. You do not have to put them in, take them out, charge them, clean them, etc. so all of the things that remind you that they are there are taken out of the equation. On top of that, you do not even see them when you look in the mirror.
- Who Can Use Lyric?
The Phonak Lyric is not for everyone. First of all, if you have anything other than mild or moderate hearing loss then you are not a candidate for the Phonak Lyric. In fact, if you have any of the following issues, you may not be a good candidate for Lyric:
- Short, narrow, or sensitive ear canals.
- If you are taking blood thinners.
- If you produce heavy earwax.
- If your hearing loss is getting worse very quickly.
- A history of ear-related health issues.
- If you do a lot of swimming and/or diving.
- Once you get the Lyric fitted, you may find out it does not fit your particular ears or hearing needs.
There may be other reasons or issues that cause you to not be a candidate for Lyric hearing aids. The first thing you should do is find a local Lyric provider and talk to them about your hearing needs and why the Lyric may or may not be a good fit for you.
You can not stream audio to Lyric hearing aids. You can, however, wear headphones and use your phone just like you would without hearing aids. Because of the high-quality, natural hearing you experience with Lyric hearing aids, much of what you did before you needed hearing aids you can also do with your Lyric hearing aids.
Unique Perks and Features
One of the differences between the Lyric and most modern, high-end hearing aids is the lack of BlueTooth technology found in the Lyric. While you do not get BlueTooth connectivity, you are able to use headphones, telephones, etc. while your hearing aids are in your ears. They are so deep in your ear canal that you can use electronic devices in much the same way that people with normal hearing do.
One of the major features of the Phonak Lyric is the almost complete invisibility that it offers. It is inserted deep enough into your ear canal that is virtually imperceptible to others and that is the invisibility that many hearing aid wearers want. Another aspect of the Lyric’s invisibility is that it becomes almost invisible to the wearer as well. After it is placed in your ear, you do not have to think about it again and you can get back to enjoying life without thinking about the device in your ear.
One of the really good things about the Lyric hearing aids is that you purchase a yearly subscription service to gain access to the device. The subscription service gives you one full year of hearing and service with the Phonak Lyric device and that includes replacement when needed. Here are the things that come with your Lyric subscription:
- One year of Lyric hearing.
- Replacement devices when needed.
- Free technology updates when they become available.
- No repairs or battery changes because you would just receive a new device instead.
You do not control the Phonak Lyric with an app like you do most of today’s modern hearing aids. Because the Lyric is not Bluetooth enabled, you cannot connect it to another electronic device.
Sound Link Adjustment Tool
With the Sound Link adjustment tool, wearers can control the volume and settings of their Phonak Lyric. This tool also allows users to remove the device from their own ear if needed though it is advisable to wait until you visit a specialist to have the device removed.
There is some evidence to suggest that the Phonak Lyric can help relieve some of the symptoms of tinnitus. While data is inconclusive, it makes sense that a hearing aid that you wear 24/7 would also help with tinnitus. To many hearing aid wearers, tinnitus can be the most bothersome at night because you are not wearing your hearing aids. Because of where the Lyric sits and because it is worn all day and night, it only makes sense that it would help those who suffer from tinnitus.
The total cost of the Phonak Lyric is whatever your audiologist charges for a yearly Lyric prescription. The cost is a little high compared to other hearing solutions, but there are no hidden costs or repair fees. You pay one time every year, and then you have complete and total access to your Phonak Lyric, even changing it to a new one when needed. The cost can be anywhere from $1,800 per ear to $3,000 or more per ear.
- What is an “invisible” hearing aid?
The word “invisible” can be used to describe different things in the hearing aid world. Many Completely-In-the-Canal (CIC) hearing aids are called invisible, but the Phonak Lyric is a completely different thing. The Lyric is actually deeply inserted by a trained audiologist and then left in for months at a time with no need to change batteries or clean the device. It is so deeply inserted that it is almost impossible for anyone else to see it except for an audiologist who can use a special tool to place and remove it.
- How much does the Phonak Lyric cost?
The Phonak Lyric is purchased on a subscription basis and it cannot be purchased any other way. To purchase the Lyric hearing aid you have to find an authorized Lyric office. When there, a Certified Lyric Fitter will assess your hearing loss, the size and shape of your ear, your medical conditions, and your lifestyle. If all of these things are right then you can try the Lyric, risk-free for 30 days. The cost differs based on where you go and the audiologist you use but you can expect to pay between $1,700 and $2,000 per year for a yearly subscription.
- What is the Phonak Lyric?
The Phonak Lyric difference is that you can leave the device in your ear for extended periods of time while living your life. You can sleep, shower, and work out in a Lyric device without damaging it. The Lyric is deeply inserted into your ear by a trained otolaryngologist or audiologist and then not removed until your next specialist appointment. There are some pluses and minuses to this type of hearing aid, and not everyone is a candidate for the Phonak Lyric. If, however, you are looking for an invisible hearing aid with great sound quality, speech clarity, and very little upkeep, the Phonak Lyric may be just what you are looking for.
There are both severe upsides and downsides to moving to a Phonak Lyric hearing aid. They are invisible, produce a very natural and realistic listening experience, and are one of the most convenient hearing solutions on the market. You can wear them to sleep, to shower, to work out, and really any other time of the day. At the same time, you do not get streaming features, BlueTooth connectivity, style or model choices, and there is no app to connect to it for control and settings. The Lyric also is not powerful enough to help people who struggle with severe to profound hearing loss. Even with all of the negatives listed above, many people want the convenience and listening experience offered by the Phonak Lyric and it continues to grow in popularity.