I am 78 years old and suffer from substantial hearing loss in both ears, but I have a greater loss in my left ear after exposure to a rifle fired at close range a few years ago that caused ringing in my ears and permanently damaged my left ear.
After the gun range incident, I visited a local specialist and tried two different high-end digital hearing aids. The first set amplified noises like squeaking doors and rattling paper, and yet I could not easily understand the speech of friends or my wife at close range. The second set also was not fully effective in reducing noise levels to permit normal conversation.
After multiple visits, I became discouraged with these expensive devices that did not provide reasonable sound.
I was fully aware that none of these devices could restore my hearing to that of a 25-year-old, but I did expect to be able to have a normal conversation with my wife, kids, or friends without asking them to repeat themselves. I also wanted to be able to watch a movie on television without having difficulty differentiating between the dialogue and the background music tracks.
I ended up borrowing some professional audio equalizers that enabled me to watch a movie and suppress or boost the audio at different frequencies across the voice spectrum until I could understand the speech. I plotted the slope of these frequencies using Microsoft Excel to show my audiologist on my next visit.
My audiologist was annoyed with my chart and refused to suppress the portions of the spectrum as I requested, but made some adjustments that he felt were reasonable. I left his office feeling deflated and with the same hearing problem.
I had read about Lyric hearing aids, but at the time the nearest provider was an hour and thirty minutes away, and I did not want to drive that far for an appointment and future service. But when my wife read that the Lyric device was available at the Hearts for Hearing clinic in Oklahoma City, I called for an appointment the next day.
After a warm reception at Hearts for Hearing, I was given a remarkably comprehensive hearing test. When the hearing test was complete, the audiologist carefully measured the diameter of each ear canal. I was told that based on my hearing loss and the size of my ear canals I was a candidate for the Lyric hearing aids.
I was ready to try anything at this point, and I gladly agreed to the installation of the two devices. It was a new experience and seemed strange for the first 15 minutes. Then I suddenly realized the audiologist’s voice was very natural and not tinny as it was when I arrived at the office with my digital hearing aids installed. When I left the office to drive home, I listened to a CD and was amazed at how good the music sounded.
When I arrived home and began a conversation with Noreen, my wife, I immediately recognized the natural sound of her voice.
I have worn these devices continually and couldn’t be happier. My hearing has been restored to natural sounds, and I forget that these devices are in my ears. They may not be a solution for everyone, but I would recommend anyone with a hearing loss to at least try them.