When it is time to be fitted for your new hearing aid, a hearing aid technician will discuss all of the options available to you. For people with profound hearing loss or for those who want all the bells and whistles hearing aids can offer, a behind-the-ear (BTE) model may be the right choice. These devices hook over the top of your ear and rest behind the ear. A tube connects the hearing aid to an ear piece that fits into your ear canal. Even within the behind-the-ear model, there are several options to consider.
Styles of Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids
For many people, the visibility of their hearing aid is an important factor. They may want a discreet model that is not obvious to others. BTE hearing aids can be small and subtle and can also match the wearer’s skin tone so that they are somewhat hidden. For those who don’t care about who sees their hearing aids, there are also models with fun colors and designs.
The model you choose will partly depend on your hearing needs and partly on your personal preference. The three main models of behind-the-ear hearing aids include:
- Mini BTE. This small model is designed to hide behind the outer ear and has ultra-thin tubing that connects to a small tip placed in the ear canal. Sound is routed from the hearing aid unit to the tip, which does not completely occlude the ear canal, allowing for a natural, open feeling that many users like. This design is best for people with mild to moderate high-frequency hearing loss. This model is quite discreet and comfortable, but does pick up more wind noise than other, more fitted models.
- Receiver in the ear (RITE) or receiver in the canal (RIC). These models also consist of a piece behind the ear and a piece in the ear canal, but instead of the receiver being in the unit behind the ear as in other BTE models, the receiver is built into the ear tip. A tiny wire connects the two pieces, rather than a tube. The main advantage of these models is that the piece that rests behind the ear can be smaller and less visible. One disadvantage is that the speaker can become clogged by wax and debris more easily as it sits in the ear canal.
- BTE with earmold. This type of hearing aid can correct any level of hearing loss, from mild to profound. The larger size of the behind-the-ear unit allows it to house more features, controls, and power than any other style of hearing aid. This model is also more durable than some of the smaller models and resists damage and debris as most of the delicate components are housed outside the ear canal. The behind-the-ear unit is connected to the custom-molded earpiece by a tube, which can be removed for cleaning and replacement. The earmold is available in a variety of skin tones and fits comfortably in the bowl of the ear. This model is commonly used for children because it can be reprogrammed as the child’s hearing changes and the earmold can be replaced as the child grows. On the downside, users report a plugged up feeling and difficulty wearing eyeglasses.
No matter what your hearing needs are, there is a hearing aid for you. We will help you consider your level of hearing loss, lifestyle, and desire for discreetness in choosing the behind-the-ear model that is right for you.
Professional Hearing Care Center Has Many Models to Choose From
When you work with a hearing aid technician at our Lakeland, Florida, office, you will be able to examine each of these models of hearing aid and try them out to see what will be the best choice for you. Our professionals will make sure you get the best hearing aid for your lifestyle and that you are comfortable inserting it and cleaning it. Use the link on this page to connect with us today!