Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids (BTE) are among the most recognized hearing aid devices. These hearing aids fit comfortably behind the ear and are custom fitted for the particular individual. People can use this type of hearing aid to help a wide range of impairments. Both children and adults can benefit from the use of a BTE hearing aid.
In this type of hearing aid, the mechanics of the piece are housed in a case that fits behind the ear. Sounds are captured by a tiny microphone and transmitted from the device through a tube that connects to the ear-mold, which fits inside the ear. BTE’s are often better at the amplification process than smaller models because they have a larger amplifier and stronger battery.
Behind-the-ear hearing aids are available in both digital and programmable styles. Each of the models of aids has its benefits. An audiologist can let you know what style would best suit your needs. Programmable hearing aids often have automatically adjusting volumes while digital hearing aids often maximized sound quality.
It is important to consult with an audiologist regularly if you are experiencing hearing loss. These specialists can determine your level of impairment and custom fit and design the correct BTE hearing aid for you. Inadequately fitted behind-the-ear hearing aids can cause feedback, which can be distracting and embarrassing. Earwax build up can also cause this high-pitched whistling sound. As with other hearing aid devices, you should regularly and thoroughly clean the piece as instructed by your physician.
Behind-the-ear hearing aids can be less expensive than their completely-inside-the-ear (CIC) counterparts. They usually offer the same quality but some consider them less cosmetically appealing. The completely-inside-the-ear models are virtually undetectable while BTE’s are not. For those who are not concerned about others noticing the hearing aid, a BTE could be a good option for a comfortable, affordable and functional alternative to CIC’s.
Most people, when they finally decide to buy them, want to wear the smallest hearing aids possible, but that may not be the best thing for their hearing needs. There are several different styles and sizes of hearing aids. Some of them are only appropriate for specific hearing losses. Other styles of hearing aids can be worn for virtually any hearing loss, but they tend to be larger and less desirable cosmetically.
One of the most popular styles of aids is the Open Ear. These are small behind the ear hearing aids that connect to the ear by either a small tube or wire. When they use a wire there is a speaker, or receiver, on the end that goes into your ear canal. This type is called a RIC, or receiver in the canal. The largest benefit to this type of hearing aid is that it leaves your ear canal open so you don’t feel plugged up. If you have a hearing loss in just the high frequencies this may be a good choice for you. But if you have hearing loss in the low and mid frequencies, Open Ear hearing devices were not intended for your loss. You can be fit with an earmold that will plug up your ear, but it will help you with those low pitch sounds – Unfortunately, you would be plugging up your ear once again. You would just have a smaller behind the ear (BTE) hearing device, but not technically an Open Ear Hearing Aid.
For some people that’s fine. They have a hearing instrument that is giving them enough power and it is small. If you need a lot of power, Open Ears may not be the best thing for you. It would not be in your best interest to get a hearing aid that looks good, but doesn’t have the power to meet your loss! Since Open Ears were designed for high frequency hearing loss, they do not have that much power. There are some exceptions, but these are limited too. If you have a moderate to profound hearing loss, then you will need a Behind the Ear (BTE) hearing aid. You needs will be met with this type.
In the ear hearing aids, especially the small CIC style are also popular. Some manufacturers have better technology for these products than others, primarily because they do a better job controlling feedback (whistling). There’s nothing more aggravating than to have your hearing aids whistle when you put your hand or a telephone near your ear, or when you hug someone.
There is more to choosing hearing aids than looks alone. Your hearing professional is the best person to talk to about which hearing aids are best for you.