Behind the Ear Hearing Aids (BTE)

Behind the ear hearing aidBehind The Ear Hearing Aids (BTE) are used more than any other type of hearing aid; they are held behind the ear with a tube that fits into a personalised ear mould. Sometimes they contain a wire to carry the sound, but more typically it is sent down the same tube that connects to the hearing aid.

The advantages of BTE hearing aids are that they minimize feedback, which means they are less likely to whistle. They are the only type available free in the U.K. from the National Health Service. The disadvantages are that if you are a sporty individual they may not be the most secure, and if you wear spectacles they tend to conflict with the arm of your glasses for a space behind your ear. A disadvantage is that they are large and cumbersome and noticeable, but their very size does give them an advantage, they have the space for many options and a complex circuitry system. Despite the fact they are more visible, normal hair growth can conceal them especially for women. They tend to be used for small children because as their ear changes they need a new ear mould, unlike an in the ear hearing aid as these would require a new unit.

The design has conferred advantages and disadvantages with this type of hearing aid, because the microphone is outside the ear the patient loses what would be a natural resonance of the ear, but on the plus side of design the frequency response of the amplification system can more or less cancel that fact out. Another factor of the microphone being external is that it does tend to pick up wind noise. It can also be distracting as hats tend to knock them out of position and coat collars are apt to rub on them, however these are minor and most patients say they learn to live with these factors. They are more at risk of water damage from rain than the in the ear hearing aids.

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