Types of hearing aids: #2 BTE
For the second post in this blog series, we will be discussing the behind the ear (BTE) hearing aid. As with the RIE, this has a number of advantages and disadvantages
For a BTE hearing aid, the bulk of the device is behind the ear (the name gives this away!). The hearing aid is normally connected to the ear either through a traditional tube and earmould, or a thin tube and dome.
When this hearing aid style was invented, it was considered revolutionary, since previous hearing aids were body worn and much larger. Since then, these devices have become smaller, as advances in electronics and sound engineering create internal parts that are even more compact. Although not as small as an RIE, these devices can still be quite discreet, especially with a good colour choice.
1) Power: This class of device includes Super Power hearing aids, which are the strongest hearing aids available and can be used by people with profound hearing loss.
2) Easy to handle: For people with mobility issues or reduced sense of touch in their fingers, these hearing aids are the best choice. Larger battery doors make it easier to change the battery when compared to a RIE or a custom hearing aid.
3) Buttons: BTE hearing aids have one or more buttons which allow you to control the device.
4) Comfort: Depending on the hearing loss, the hearing aid may be fit with a thin tube and a soft tip/dome. This is more comfortable than a custom earmould, which can sometimes feel like a plug.
5) Durability: The ear can be a humid, unfriendly environment to electronic devices. Since this device is completely outside the ear, it is the device which is least exposed to humidity. This makes it less likely to have damage related to humidity when compared to other hearing aid styles.
1) Cosmetics: People may not always want a device on their ears. This device is also bigger than an RIE, so it is not the best choice cosmetically.
2) Comfort: In cases where a custom earmould is required, this is less comfortable than than a soft tip. People may need some time to adjust to a full custom earmould.
Although advantages and disadvantages can vary on a case by case basis, these are good overview of what you would expect with this type of model. The choice will always depend on the patient needs and hearing loss. It is always best to discuss this fully with your audiologist.
Should you have any questions regarding a BTE, or any type of hearing aid, feel free to contact us.