Behind The Ear Hearing Aids

(AKA BTE hearing aids)

behind the ear hearing aid Behind the ear hearing aid

When you think of a hearing aid, the first image that pops to your mind is this banana shaped plastic part placed behind the ear, connected to something placed within the ear (earmold). This type of haring aids are called behind the ear hearing aids. You can still see BTE hearing aids that are quite big and massive. On the other hand, you can also find some really neat designs for tiny BTE hearing aids. Some of the hearing aids look just like bluetooth ear set.

The hearing aid itself (sometimes referred to as “case”)

This is the part located behind the ear. It contains the “brain” of the hearing aid with all the best technology and features. It holds the batteries too. The bigger the batteries, the longer the device will last without replacing them. All the buttons are also located here, along with the microphone that receives the tones, sounds and voices from the surrounding.

One of the greatest advantages of the BTE is the size of its buttons, battery and battery cover. Comparing to other hearing aid types, it is fairly comfortable to use its buttons and replace the batteries. It‘s important, especially with kids and elders. You can save lots of problems and head aces just by making battery replacing simple.

Another thing you should think of is that the BTE devices are kept clean from all the ear secretion and sweat. On devices that you put inside the ear, this can become a real issue. The BTE usually stays clean and protected. Since you want the hearing aid to work for years, keeping it clean helps a lot.

The separation between the case and the earmold is very useful in some cases. For instance, for a child, that his ear keeps on growing, all you need is a new earmold rather than getting a brand new hearing aid. It is also great for adults, when you want to check out a new hearing aid, just use your old earmold to see if the newer hearing aid is good for you.
Moreover, behind the ear hearing aids keeps the case clean. It really helps to protect the delicate technology inside the case.

The Earmold

behind the ear hearing aid decorated earmold Some of the earmold
can be decorated...

The earmold is connected to the hearing aid with a tiny tube. The earmold is tailor made for you. Usually you have to go so that they would make ear impressions and prepare a mold that fits your hearing canal and pinna.

There are several types of earmold that go with BTE hearing aids. Choosing the right type depends on aesthetics, convenience and audiologist aspects.

The types are usually named after how they look or after the part of the ear that they fit into.

Keep in mind that the manufacturers might give their own names, but these are the basic and probably the most common.

Canal earmold 

The smallest earmold, fills the hearing canal only. Some manufacturers add some small piece to hold it better in place.

Skeleton earmold

Very comfortable earmold. It’s really easy to place it in the ear because it fits right inside the concha but doesn’t fill it completely. This structure gives good grip of the ear. It should be sufficient even for severe hearing loss.

Shell earmold

Totally fills the concha. Suitable for the deepest hearing loss. The most significant advantage of shell earmold is that it seals the ear. This enables you to have high amplification and yet to have no feedback that causes these annoying high tones. This is what makes it great for deep hearing loss.

Some explanation on other parts of behind the ear hearing aids...

Main pros on cons of behind the ear hearing aids


  • Easy to control the different features
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Supports all technologies and features
  • Comparatively large battery
  • Fits almost all users and all hearing loss types


  • Cosmetics - If you want to hide your hearing aid, it might be tough with this one
  • Usually, you won't get the earmold on the spot. It takes time.
  • Since it shuts off the hearing canal, there is an occlusion effect that some people don’t like

Open fit hearing aids (BTE, with out the need for tailor made earmold)

There is another kind of Behind The Ear hearing aids called open-fit. Usually, they are smaller then the standard BTE devices. On the open fit devices, the voice is transferred to the ear with a narrow and transparent tube. It is practically invisible...

The greatest thing with the open fit devices is that it eliminates the feeling that the ear is sealed. It keeps the ear canal ventilated which feels much better to some users.

Generally, open fit doesn't require earmold impression. They just measure your ear and use one of the universals tubes out of the variety of sizes. This is great because not only that is saves the impression procedure, you can also get the hearing aid on the spot.

Read more on Open fit devices here...

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