Ask the Audiologist

Songbird™ disposable hearing aids

An entirely new type of hearing aid was introduced to the market by Songbird Hearing, Inc a couple of years ago. Their Songbird™ hearing aid was disposable, it was designed to fit about 90% of the hearing impaired population, the aid ran for about 2 months, and had a list price of $79.00.

What is it
The Songbird is packaged in a soft, flexible, "one size fits all", hypoallergenic case that is slightly larger than the normal completely-in-the-canal hearing aid. There are actually 3 different sizes, small, medium, and large. It is delivered to the user in a sealed package that keeps the battery fresh. When the case is opened, the battery starts working, and lasts about 60 days, assuming 12 hours of use a day.

There are four major components inside the Songbird, the large microphone that takes up the entire faceplate area of the hearing aid, the zinc air battery, the electronic circuit, and the receiver (output loudspeaker). There also is an interconnecting flex circuit, and the on-off switch, which is operated by a pull string (pulling the hearing aid out of your ear turns it off).

The Songbird custom integrated circuit is similar to the circuits found in entry level digital hearing aids, with two channel signal processing and wide dynamic range compression. The circuit is presently available in 7 formulas to fit 95% of mild-to-moderate hearing loss patients.

How is it fit
Your audiologist will test your hearing and inspect your ears to see if you are a candidate for the Songbird. If you are, a pair of Songbird demonstration units are put in your ears and you adjust them by selecting buttons on a small keyboard, while you listen to conversation and background sounds. We suggest that patients wear the demo units (with the attached keyboard) while they go out to a local fast food restaurant, to see which prescription sounds the best.

Cost and delivery
At most hearing centers, there was an initial fitting fee of about $100, and a charge of $79 for each Songbird disposable hearing aid. You can pick them up at the center, or they could be mailed to you (there was a small shipping charge). However, you must come into the center every six months or so to get your ears checked (at no charge) to see if everything is still ok, and once a year to get another hearing evaluation. The goal is to make this fast and hassle free.

Availability
Songbirds are no longer available except for remaining stock at some centers. It appears that Songbird went out of business.