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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.