July 2010

Speak Up! I Can't Hear You...

Author: Special To C2 Magazine

With untreated hearing loss approaching what many medical experts consider epidemic proportions, a new invisible hearing device has come along at a perfect time. The device is called the Lyric® and is the first non-surgical, 100 percent invisible, extended-wear hearing correction device on the market.

“The single best thing about Lyric is the fact that you are independent. You’re not tied to having batteries in your pocket. You do not have to worry where you are going to have a conversation; you are not restricted in terms of your activities. You’re back to where you were when you did not have a hearing deficit,” said Stu, a Lyric® user from California.

The device has been available in Florida, California and New York for over three years, and finally it is available in the Hilton Head, Bluffton and Savannah areas. Optimal Hearing Systems is the first office to provide the Lyric® in our area.

“Even a mild degree of hearing loss, if it is not appropriately treated, can negatively impact family and social interactions,” said Gabriel Pitt, a Doctor of Audiology with Optimal Hearing Systems, Inc. of Bluffton and Savannah.

Untreated hearing loss is associated with depression, loneliness, reduced alertness and stress and puts personal safety and overall health at risk. It is also costing the U.S. billions of dollars in lost revenue.

While hearing aids can help 95 percent of people with hearing loss, only one in four people who could benefit actually use hearing aids. Vanity, cosmetics and the negative stigma associated with hearing aids are common reasons why people do not want to try hearing aids.

“Eight of ten people I see are concerned about visibility,” said Pitt, “but now there is a 100 percent invisible solution that is 100 percent maintenance free, and it is called the Lyric.”

The Lyric is made of biocompatible soft foam which is engineered to contour to the ear canal. It is safe to wear 24 hours a day 7 days a week. It utilizes a proprietary mechanical and coating technology developed to protect the device from moisture and ear wax. The device has a programmable sound processing system designed to work millimeters from the ear drum and allow both the microphone and receiver (speaker) to be placed deep in the ear canal.

The Lyric is programmed to an individual’s hearing loss, so a hearing test has to be performed to properly fit the device. Patients are provided with a magnetic adjustment tool which allows them to turn the device on and off and adjust the volume.

“The sound quality with the Lyric has shown to have improved directionality and localization, less feedback, more high frequency gain and a reduction of wind noise because it fits so deeply in the ear,” said Pitt.

In a recent survey of current Lyric users, 98 percent of the respondents stated they would not go back to traditional hearing aids. While the device has many benefits over traditional hearing aids, it is not for everyone.

“Some people do not qualify for the device, based on their degree of hearing impairment and other anatomical and lifestyle factors,” said Michael Beasley, a hearing instrument specialist in Bluffton with Optimal Hearing Systems who trained with Pitt. “The only way we can determine candidacy for the device is to perform a comprehensive hearing consultation.”

While the Lyric is not for everyone, there are many other hearing devices on the market that have been proven to help the hard of hearing even in background noise and on the phone. Hearing aids with directional microphones help people understand speech in the presence of noise better than any other hearing aid technology. The advent of nano-technology, or science on the molecular level, has allowed hearing aids to become compatible with telephones.

“Ninety-five percent of our patients who do not qualify for the Lyric have been successfully fitted with a traditional device” Beasley said. “We have a very high success rate, because we have the most advanced digital nano-technology devices to treat even the most severe hearing loss.”

Not only have hearing aids like the Lyric device and others proven to help people hear and understand speech better, they have also proven to help reduce tinnitus—that annoying sound in the ears and head that can be bothersome. Approximately 10 percent of the population suffers from tinnitus, and for many people, it can be extremely bothersome. Whether an individual is bothered by the tinnitus or not, the perception of the sound can be reduced with the use of amplification.

“Approximately 80 percent of our patients who suffer from tinnitus have either a complete elimination or a significant reduction in the tinnitus with the use of hearing aids,” said Pitt. “The only way to find out whether an individual will receive benefit is to try the device, which is why we offer a 30-day trial with all of the products we provide.”

“Celebrate Lyric” Optimal Hearing Systems, Inc.
To learn more please visit them online at www.optimalhearing.com or call 1-(888)-601-8054.

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