Behind-the-ear (BTE)

As the name suggests, behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids sit behind the ear and deliver sound into the ear either via ‘sound tube’. The sound tube can either be 2mm diameter acoustic tubing channelled through a custom-made earmould, or a discreet ‘thin-tube’ attached to an ear dome or custom-made micro-mould which fits inside the ear canal.

behind-the-ear_bte_77_hearing_aidReSound LiNX2On ear77thin tubeside

Hover over to view BTE when worn

BTE hearing aids house either a size 10 (Yellow), size 312 (Brown) or size 13 (Orange) battery depending on the style and size selected. The typical lifespan of a size 10 battery is between 3-5 days, size 312 battery between 5-7 days and size 13 battery between 10-14 days but this can vary depending upon the number of hours per day the hearing aid is worn, the severity of hearing loss and the technology level of hearing aid.

Benefits

  • BTE hearing aids with thin-tubes can often be more discreet and invisible than custom invisible-in-canal (IIC) and completely-in-canal (CIC) hearing aids.
  • Very powerful so suitable for profound hearing losses
  • Different ear domes and earmoulds can be fitted making them suitable for a variety of types of hearing losses.
  • Dual-microphones help to improve speech understanding in noise.
  • Wireless and telecoil options.

Limitations

  • Not always appropriate if you have poor vision or manual dexterity.
  • A less natural and crisper sound quality when compared to receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aids as the sound is being transmitted through a tube creating artificial peaks and troughs (tube resonances)
  • Tubing needs regular replacement as can become hard and brittle which affects sound quality and transmission.
  • Condensation build-up inside the tubing can also affect sound quality and transmission. Moisture-free tubing can be used but can slip out of the earmould easily and cause irritation to the side of the ear if makes contact due to its ‘rubbery’ texture.
  • Microphone more susceptible to damage due to dead skin from behind the ear.
  • Loss of natural acoustics provided by the external ear (pinna) that help with localising the direction of sound from in front and behind you.
  • Telephone receiver needs to be held in slightly unnatural position over the top of the ear next to the hearing aid microphone.

Other hearing aid styles…