Media - Sonova News Room

The WOW! moments of hearing

"Welcome to the world of Phonak Lyric!"

Lyric is a groundbreaking technological innovation: it is the world's only 100% invisible "extended wear" hearing instrument. When Californian audiologist Mark Sanford first heard about it, he immediately realized: "This is the future!" He added Lyric to his portfolio – and his sales doubled within just five years.

"Now, keep still please," says Tamara Anderson in a firm but friendly tone. Anderson, an audiology specialist, moves the positioning instrument up to Mark Marcotte's ear. A few seconds later, the tiny hearing aid is sitting comfortably in Marcotte's ear canal. Anderson knows what's coming next: the “wow” moment. Marcotte's eyes widen. He looks around the room, searching for the origin of a sound that he was unable to hear before. "Oh, it's a fan! Can you hear them as well, then?" Anderson, a trained ENT specialist, answers his question with a smile: "Welcome to the world of Phonak Lyric!"

Marcotte, 63, has just returned to California from the Hawaiian vacation paradise of Maui. This keen sportsman was affected by hearing loss for 30 years and eventually, he even became unable to hear the brakes of his own car screeching. "For a long time, I was looking for a solution that would match my lifestyle," Marcotte explains. Then he heard about a new type of hearing instrument that is shower-resistant, totally invisible, and can be worn 24 hours a day for months at a time without changing the battery – an instrument that does not need to be inserted and removed every day.*

He began his search for this solution at the specialist store of independent hearing care professional Mark Sanford in Walnut Creek, California, where Tamara Anderson also works. Sanford is one of the most successful Lyric providers in the world. Sales of this straightforward, 100% invisible hearing aid are now the cornerstone of his business. "I believe it's important for hearing aid wearers to be well informed as this enables them to make the decision that’s right for them," Sanford says. "Many of our customers come to us on the strength of recommendations." His revenues doubled within just five years of his decision to add Lyric to his portfolio.

"Thanks to Lyric, we're reaching customers who would never have considered a conventional hearing instrument." Mark Sanford

"Thanks to Lyric, we're reaching customers who would never have considered a conventional hearing instrument."

Mark Sanford

Sanford receives invitations from all over the world to report as a specialist on Lyric's advantages. In his presentations, he also outlines the innovative business model that Phonak offers for Lyric: subscription sales. For audiologists, the advantage here is that a Lyric wearer who opts for a subscription becomes a regular client. At the end of the battery's lifetime, the instrument is simply replaced with a new one – in a matter of minutes. A subscription also guarantees that wearers will automatically receive technology updates, so they always enjoy the advantages of the latest version of Lyric. To start with, however, customers can trial Lyric for up to 30 days free of charge. "After that, they come back of their own accord − or else their enthusiastic partners drag them through the door," Sanford explains, pointing to the entrance to his store. His customers even include well-known rock musicians − "They would never use anything but Lyric." He also attributes Lyric's success to its excellent tone quality and the clear, natural sound that it delivers. "The instrument sits a little way in front of the eardrum, and it takes maximum advantage of the ear's anatomy – that counts for a lot."

Lyric is an outstanding technological achievement; there is currently no other instrument on the market that can be worn for a comparable period. The battery is no bigger than a grain of rice, and the instrument's technical design means that it can easily withstand the extreme conditions in the ear canal, such as moisture and wax. It took several years for a group of audiologists, ENT specialists and engineers to develop the world's only 100% invisible hearing solution in collaboration with the University of San Francisco.

Mark Sanford confirms a remarkable phenomenon: "Nobody wants to wear a hearing instrument. That's why most people who have one won't talk about it, and they even attempt to conceal it behind their ears or under their hair." But, he adds, exactly the opposite happens with Lyric. "It's invisible – and that's precisely why wearers tell their friends about it. Look, I've got a hearing aid, but you can't see it!"

Sanford is convinced that Lyric is opening up new target groups for audiologists and hearing care professionals. "Thanks to Lyric, we're reaching customers who would never have considered a conventional hearing instrument," he notes. They include professionals for whom good hearing is important in everyday business situations such as meetings, phone calls or discussions with clients. Sanford also offers this solution to teenagers with active lifestyles as well as older people. For this client segment, stimulation of the ear throughout the day helps to counteract dementia. As soon as they wake up in the morning, they can hear. "Apart from the sound quality, the fact that Lyric is totally invisible to other people is enormously important to the wearers," Sanford explains. "Like contact lens users, Lyric wearers can forget that they are actually using an aid. They simply feel normal. And that's precisely what they are looking for." When selecting his staff, Sanford takes care to ensure that all his employees have excellent interpersonal skills and are highly motivated to help people improve their quality of life. "You can teach people a lot through training, but our employees must already come equipped with the right work ethic."

Sanford appeals to all hearing care professionals who have not yet added Lyric to their portfolio: "Have the courage to jump into the deep end of the pool, just don’t put your toe into it. Try it out!" He recalls the many people he has seen weep with joy when Lyric restored their ability to hear clearly and naturally: "We can change people's lives, and there's nothing more wonderful than that!"

* Individual replacement needs may vary. Duration of device battery life varies by patient and is subject to individual ear conditions. Individual patient needs may vary. Lyric is not appropriate for all patients.  See a Lyric provider to determine if Lyric is right for you. Lyric is water resistant, not waterproof, and should not be completely submerged underwater.

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