Today’s behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids are not the clunky devices they once were. BTE hearing aids offer powerful amplification and speech understanding in a sleek and stylish package.
How Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids Work
As the name implies, all electronic components of BTE hearing devices sit behind your ear. They’re connected by an ear hook that sits on top of your ear, which sends sounds through a clear tube into a custom earpiece at the opening of your ear canal.
The electronic processor includes:
- Mics that pick up sounds and convert them into electrical signals.
- Amplifiers to increase the volume and filter background noise.
- Speech processors that adjust speech sounds.
- Loudspeakers to convert electrical signals into acoustic signals.
- Volume regulators to increase sound levels.
BTE earmolds are made of soft, flexible plastic that can be adjusted to fit any ear shape, which is why BTE devices are suitable for children and adults with hearing loss.
Advantages of Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids
More programming options: BTE hearing aids are best for mild to profound hearing loss or if you have small ear canals. Because of their size, BTE hearing aids house more features and programs, creating a unique hearing experience with advanced speech recognition. Some manufacturers offer automated programming that self-adjusts based on your listening environment.
Bluetooth connectivity: Some BTE devices come with wireless connectivity so you can stream music, phone calls and TV audio right to your hearing aids.
Visually appealing: Despite being the largest hearing aid style on the market, modern BTE devices are more visually discreet than their predecessors. They’re available in various sizes, shapes and colors.
Better handling: You may require BTE hearing aids if you have dexterity issues since their larger size makes for easier handling and battery changes. Some styles come in rechargeable options, eliminating the need for replacement hearing aid batteries.
Easy cleaning: The detachable ear hook and earmold make for efficient cleaning, especially if you require a caregiver’s assistance to maintain your devices.
Types of Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids
Open fit: This type of BTE device has a thin plastic tube that connects to a smaller earmold. Open fit BTE hearing aids are less likely to make your ears feel “plugged.”
Close fit: This style includes a traditional fitted earmold that fills the shell of your outer ear.
Receiver-in-the-canal: This variation of the BTE style connects to a small component in your ear canal via a thin wire instead of a plastic tube. This hearing aid is better suited for mild to moderate hearing loss.
BTE mini hearing aids: These smaller versions of the traditional BTE style offer powerful sound amplification in a slimmer design.