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Behind-the-ear (BTE)

Popular for their reliability and long life, BTE devices are suitable for a wide range of hearing loss.

Description
This style of hearing device sits behind the ear and is attached via tubing to a small dome or custom-made mould that fits in the ear canal. The open-fit style leaves the ear canal unoccluded, allowing environmental sounds to be heard in their amplified state.

For people with a greater hearing loss or who need a more secure style, a custom-made mould is used to allow greater volume adjustment and ease of insertion.
Pros
  • Easy to handle, insert and adjust
  • Suitable for all levels of hearing loss
  • Can fit many features
  • Larger batteries for longer battery life
Cons
  • More visible than smaller models
  • Less suitable for people who wear eye glasses

What are behind-the-ear (BTE) models?

These hearing aids are worn behind the ear, just above the concha. The small, clear tube transmits sound directly into the eardrum and is also used to keep the hearing aid in place. 

BTE models are available in a variety of styles, sizes and colours. They are also sweat, dust and water resistant.
 

Structure of a BTE hearing aid

All hearing aids feature the same key components. For example, a behind-the-ear hearing aid has the following functions:
  • Microphone – Picks up sounds and converts them into electrical signals
  • Amplifier – Increases the volume of the microphone and filters out irrelevant sounds
  • Loudspeaker – Converts electrical signals into acoustic signals
  • Speech processor – Adjusts signals to the wearer's individual hearing needs
  • Volume regulator – Lets the wearer control the volume
  • Ear hook – Connects the hearing aid and the sound tube
  • Audio input – Picks up signals from other external devices
  • Battery powered and rechargable options available
The hearing aid is connected to the ear via a sound tube, which ends in a fixing piece, or earpiece/ear shell (earmold). A variation on the classic BTE hearing aid is the external receiver model (receiver-in-canal, or RIC), in which the loudspeaker sits inside the ear, thus transmitting sound directly to the eardrum.

Other behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids

Receiver-in-canal (RIC) and Micro-behind-the-ear models
RIC and Micro-behind-the-ear hearing aids are smaller BTE options. They are equipped with receivers that transmit sound directly in the ear canal. They are worn comfortably behind the ear, come in a variety of colours and have Bluetooth capabilities. 
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