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Is a Lyric hearing aid right for you?

Article

Published: 08/12/2014

by Ken McEntee

 

Your mom probably warned you never to put anything in your ear that is smaller than your elbow. There is an exception, insists Robert Pavlik, a board certified hearing instrument specialist, audioprosthologist and owner of Brookway Hearing Center in Strongsville.

 

“A lot of people want to restore their natural hearing but don’t want others to know that they are wearing a hearing aid,” Robert says. “That’s why tiny hearing aids that are completely hidden inside the ear canal are so popular.”

 

However, he cautions, if you want to wear a completely in canal (CIC) hearing aid, be sure that it is fitted by an expert.

 

“Deep-fit hearing aids are custom made to perfectly conform to your ear canal,” he explains. “They are placed just four millimeters from your ear drum, so you need to be sure they are made by an experienced practitioner who knows what he or she is doing.”

 

Robert says he shudders when he sees websites that offer do-it-yourself hearing aid kits.

 

“There actually are online companies that send you impression material and a syringe to make your own ear molds,” he says. “I am amazed that they are really asking people to shoot this stuff into their ears. Ear canals come in all kinds of shapes and sizes with different curves. When this stuff hardens and you can’t get it out of your ear, it may have to be surgically removed.”

 

Robert says he is an expert at creating custom fit hearing aids. In fact, Brookway is one of only about a dozen hearing centers in Ohio that is certified to dispense the Lyric extended wear hearing device. Lyric is positioned completely inside the ear canal, so it uses your ear’s natural anatomy to funnel sound to your eardrum, resulting in exceptional natural sound quality.

 

“I’ve been doing this for years,” Robert says. “I was in a unique position in my first job out of college. The practice I worked at sold a lot of custom fit hearing aids. All I did was make custom impressions all day long.” In those days, receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aids were the most popular devices on the market because of their superior sound quality. The drawback of an RIC hearing aid is that it is mostly worn outside the ear, with a tiny wire that carries the sound to a small speaker in the ear canal.

 

“They are a lot smaller than they used to be, but some people don’t want their hearing aids to be seen at all,” Robert says. “Fortunately there have been amazing advances in devices like Lyric and other hearing aids that are completely hidden inside the ear canal.”

 

Not only is everybody’s hearing different, Robert says, but so is everybody’s ear canal. That’s why he uses a variety of different molding materials to custom make hearing aids that perfectly fit each client.

 

“Lyric is the world’s only 100% invisible, 24/7 wearable hearing aid that you can wear continuously for up to four months,” Robert says. “It performs around the clock during activities like talking on the phone, sleeping, exercising, and showering. After the batteries wear out, we take the old device out and put a new one in, and all it takes is a 15-minute office visit.”

 

Some people—such as diabetics or people who have excessive earwax—may not be candidates for Lyric. That’s why Brookway carries a variety of daily wear CIC hearing aids.

 

“The custom-fit hearing aids are far more sophisticated than they used to be,” Robert says. “I have never seen so much power in such small devices. And they are so comfortable, people forget they are wearing them.”

 

Simply wearing a hearing aid, Robert insists, doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to hear as well as you should.

 

“We’re not just selling you a hearing device,” he says. “Our real job is to restore your ability to hear as well as possible. That’s why we don’t sell you a hearing aid and then send you on your way. The fitting is only the beginning at Brookway. After that, we’re going to be seeing you a lot. That’s what makes us different from most other hearing centers.”

 

Hearing sound and comprehending what you hear are two very different things, Robert explains. When you’re in a crowded room, for example, you might hear plenty of chatter, but you may not understand what anybody is saying.

 

“There is more to hearing than sound going into your ears,” Robert says. “Your brain processes and filters the sounds that you hear. You might be so involved in one conversation that you don’t hear another one going on right behind you, even though the people are speaking equally as loud.”

 

Or you may be so involved in a football game on TV that you don’t hear your wife asking you to take out the garbage.

 

“Your brain has a way of processing sounds,” Robert says. “When you introduce a hearing aid, the sound signals that come in are different and your brain has to learn how to adjust. What we concentrate on at Brookway is retraining your brain to process sound so that you can understand better in the environment you’re in.” That’s why Brookway schedules a lot of follow-up visits after your fitting to fine tune your hearing aid and monitor how your brain is adapting to it.

 

“The first four weeks are focused on you getting used to the sounds of your new device,” Robert says. “The day after the fitting, we will call you make sure everything is okay. Then we do a follow-up exam at our office after three days. Then we do another follow-up exam a week later. That’s followed by a 14-day follow-up and a three-week follow-up. Then we see you again after a month-and-a-half, then we begin regular three- or four-month follow-ups. All of the visits are included in the price of your hearing aid.”

 

You can see whether Lyric or another deep-fit invisible hearing aid will work for you by calling Brookway Hearing Center for a no-cost consultation, at 440-572-9929. Brookway, a family owned operation, is located at 11180 Pearl Road, in Strongsville. You can visit www.BrookwayHearing.com for more information.