Style Spotlight: Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids

Behind-the-ear hearing aids owe their popularity to their power, ease of use, and durability.

The behind-the-ear style of hearing aids may be the oldest, most traditional type still in general use, but the very fact that it has remained so popular for such a long time is evidence of its many advantages.

As the name suggests, the main element of a behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid is a small plastic case containing all of the aid’s electronic parts, which fits comfortably behind the wearer’s ear. A thin, transparent tube connects the case to a soft, custom earmold that fits inside the ear canal. Microphones contained in the case pick up and amplify sound, which is then transmitted along to the earmold through the tubing.

Make no mistake, though: These BTE aids are not the clunky, highly visible ones you might remember your parents or grandparents wearing. Both the earmolds and the cases that sit behind the ear are sleeker and slimmer than ever. In addition, they come in a variety of shades to better match a range of hair and skin tones. Today’s BTE aids also have better feedback control than previous versions. In addition, they are fully adapted to integrate with new technology like Bluetooth connectivity or connect to external sound sources like television or auditory training equipment.

The enduring appeal of BTE hearing aids lies in their power, ease of use, and durability. Due to the strong amplifier and large battery permitted by their elongated shape, BTE aids are the most powerful hearing aids available. They are ideal for individuals with all levels of hearing loss, even those with severe or high-frequency loss. The slightly larger size of a BTE aid also makes it easier for users to turn it on and off, adjust the volume, change the battery and clean its components. They offer significant advantages for people with a limited degree of dexterity.