`Invisible` hearing aid makes UK debut

The 16-mm-long device can be worn for 24 hours up to four months at a time.

Updated: May 13, 2011, 18:59 PM IST

London: The first "invisible" hearing device made its debut in the UK Friday.
The 16-mm-long device can be worn for 24 hours up to four months at a time. It is so unobtrusive that users can actually "forget" they are wearing it.

"It`s like a contact lens for the ear," audiologist Paul Checkley from Harley Street Hearing in London said in a Daily Mail report.

According to a company spokesman, "unlike traditional devices, there are no batteries to change, no maintenance needed and no daily insertion or removal is required".

Around nine million people are hearing-impaired in the UK, according to the Royal National Institute for Deaf People and this figure is expected to rise, the report said.

However, many are often reluctant to wear the traditional over-the-ear devices, not wanting to draw attention to a problem often associated with ageing.

Jon Law, 31, a global brand manager, who has been trialing the device for four months, said: "I got German Measles when I was six months old and was then diagnosed with hearing loss. I`ve tried so many hearing aids over the last 25 years and the Lyric finally makes me feel connected.

"The fact that it is invisible is superb. You don`t feel you different to anybody. I can be around friends and just feel normal. I forget that I have a disability."

The Lyric hearing aid is inserted just four mm from the ear drum. This allows the outer ear to direct sound into the ear canal more naturally.

Its makers at InSound Medical say this improves the wearer`s ability to work out what direction a sound is coming from and reduces feedback.

It can be worn whilst sleeping, in the shower and during exercise. A magnetic tool is used to adjust the volume or switch the device on or off.