Invisible Hearing Aid

December 17, 2008 6:50:24 PM PST
A new study reveals 29 million Americans might have at least some degree of hearing loss ? and it's not just a problem for seniors. Almost nine-percent of young adults in their 20s are having trouble hearing. Many people refuse to wear bulky hearing aids, but now a new alternative can help them hear again, without anyone knowing they have a problem.Like most teens, Philip Pare loves his music.

"I like to play a little classic rock," he told Ivanhoe.

What you can't hear, or see, is that Philip has severe hearing loss. He's had to wear hearing aids his entire life.

"You could tell he disliked like it," Philip's Dad Paul recalled. "He's very self conscious."

"It was difficult at times," Philip responded.

"You know how kids are -- they just want to fit in. They don't want to stand out in any way," Paul said.

Now a new device, called the Lyric, lets Philip hear without letting everyone know he has a hearing problem.

"This new hearing aid has tremendous advantages," Michael Scherl, M.D., an otolaryngologist from Northern Valley ENT in New York, N.Y., explained. "The most obvious one is that it's really invisible."

The device is surrounded by a spongy material that allows moisture to escape so there's less risk of infection. It's placed one-sixth of an inch from the ear drum. The sound can be turned up, down and even off with the use of the magnet outside the ear.

"You put it outside your ear kind of and it beeps to turn it off, and if you leave it in your ear for a certain amount of time, beeps to indicate the volume," Philip said.

Traditional hearing aids have feedback, over amplify background noises, must be removed for showering or sleeping, and the batteries die frequently. This new device overcomes the noise issues, stays in 24/7, and its batteries last longer.

Now, instead of concentrating on his hearing, Philip can concentrate on his music.

The Lyric can't help people with severe hearing loss. When the Lyric's battery dies, the entire device is replaced. Patients pay an annual subscription fee of up to $3,600 for both ears and receive new devices whenever their battery runs out. Insurance plans typically won't cover the cost.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Northern Valley ENT
(212) 635-9742
http://thelyricdoctor.com

Lyric Hearing
(510) 792-4000
http://www.lyrichearing.com

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