Behind-the-Ear (BTE)

This hearing aid is traditionally the most powerful and rests on the back of the outer ear.

The important components, and the loudspeaker, are integrated into the housing (the bit that sits behind your ear). The sound is transmitted to the earpiece through a ear hook and a small plastic tube. The tube sits in your outer ear canal, keeps the hearing aid in place, and transmits sound waves to the eardrum.

BTE hearing aids are small and delicate – not the big, beige things that you might imagine! This means that although they’re visible, they’re discreet. They’re available in various colours to match your hair or skin tone.
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  • Easy to handle, insert and adjust
  • Suitable for all levels of hearing loss
  • Can fit many features
  • Larger batteries for longer battery life

Types of Behind-the Ear Hearing Aids

Closed fit: These hearing aids use a fitted ear mould that fills the outer ear. Although they are larger than open fit hearing aids, closed fit BTEs are easier to handle because they seal the auditory canal, which minimises the whistling sometimes experienced by hearing aid wearers.
Open fit: These contain a thin plastic micro tube that extends over the outer ear and into the ear canal. In addition to being small and cosmetically appealing, the open fit tube avoids the "stopped up" feeling of in-the-ear hearing aids. 

Structure of a BTE hearing aid

All hearing aids have the same main components. A behind-the-ear hearing aid is made up of the following parts:
  • A microphone picks up sounds and converts them into electrical signals
  • An amplifier increases the volume of the microphone signals
  • A loudspeaker converts electrical signals into acoustic signals
  • A speech processor adjusts the signals to your individual hearing needs and filters out irrelevant sounds
  • A volume control with buttons on the hearing aid
  • An ear hook connects the hearing aid and the sound tube
  • The audio input picks up signals from other external devices (audio shoe required)
  • A disposable or rechargeable battery: disposable batteries need to be changed regularly; rechargeable batteries mean you need to charge your hearing aids regularly. They’ll last for up to 24 hours with one charge.

Other behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids

Micro-behind-the-ear models
These hearing aids are smaller than normal BTE models and suitable for people with mild to severe hearing loss. They can be worn comfortably behind the ear and come in a wide range of colours, shapes, and styles.

External receiver model (receiver-in-canal, or RIC)
The smallest behind-the-ear models are equipped with external receivers and usually also offer wireless functions.