There are many types of hearing aids available for people who have hearing losses. Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids are among the most popular selections, and just as you’d be expecting from any other type of device, BTEs have both benefits and drawbacks. Read on for facts that will help you determine if a behind-the-ear hearing aid is a good choice for you.
Of the various types of hearing aids available, behind-the-ear models are generally the easiest to recognize. Their most visible characteristic is a rounded plastic case that rests behind the ear and connects to a component placed inside the ear via a small plastic tube. The most important parts of the hearing aid are located inside this case. This section holds all the electronics and batteries required for the hearing aid to work, and also the buttons that allow the user to select program and features. The portion that rests inside the ear is known as the ear mold. Ear molds are custom-made using the unique form of each person’s ears, which helps to ensure that they are comfortable and that sound is delivered effectively.
Relative to other hearing aids, the BTE style offers several clear advantages. Because the BTE is bigger than other models, it can hold larger batteries, enabling stronger amplification and longer battery life. More room in the outer shell also means that the manufacturer can include additional features like a Bluetooth technology, directional microphones and telecoil. On top of that, the larger outer shell makes BTE hearing aids simpler to handle than smaller ones, which makes changing batteries and cleaning the unit less difficult for individuals with more limited dexterity and eyesight.
Aesthetics are among the most reported downsides to behind-the-ear hearing aids. As opposed to hearing aids that fit inside the ear, there is no way to fully disguise a BTE device. Users who are sensitive about this factor can pick cases which match their skin tone to help the hearing aid blend in. Noise from wind can also be a challenge with BTE hearing aids, though most of them now have hardware and software features available to minimize or eliminate this concern.
Depending on your own lifestyle priorities and how you evaluate their benefits and drawbacks, BTE hearing aids might be the right choice for you. Speak with your audiologist to find out more about behind-the-ear hearing aids.