The New York Times has an article on the impressive Lyric hearing aid from InSound Medical of Newark, California. With the help of miniaturization and smart use of materials, the device is made to be inserted within millimeters of the ear drum and worn 24 hours a day. Because of its proximity to the ear drum and the device’s size, the internal battery will supposedly run the unit for at least a month.
Typically, anything that clogs the ear canal would trap moisture and pose an infection risk, but the Lyric is surrounded by a spongy material that allows moisture to escape. Because it sits so close to the ear drum, doctors say that it works more efficiently and that sounds are more natural because they don’t have to be amplified as much.
When the Lyric’s battery dies, the entire device is replaced. Patients do not pay for a new device every time; instead, they pay an annual subscription fee of $2,900 to $3,600 for both ears (less if the hearing loss is in only one ear). Insurance plans typically do not cover the cost of the Lyric, or any other hearing device.
A magnet is used to control the volume, turn it on and off and remove it when the battery runs out. It takes only a few minutes for a doctor to insert a replacement device.