Features of BTE Hearing Aids Auditory technology has grown considerably over the past decade, allowing patients to choose the type of hearing aid best suited to their lifestyle and level of hearing loss. While some hearing aids fit partially or completely inside the ear canal, the behind-the-ear hearing aid (BTE) continues to be one of the more versatile units for people of all ages and levels of hearing impairment.
The electronic portion of a BTE hearing device hooks behind your ear. Sound is delivered through a small plastic tube that connects the device behind your ear to a smaller, molded piece that sits outside your ear canal. The molded piece amplifies and delivers the sound to your eardrum. The BTE design has several benefits ranging from durability to accessibility.
Batteries for BTE devices typically last longer, as do the devices themselves. The bulk of the hearing device is contained by sturdy, hard plastic casing, which protects the delicate digital structure inside. A Gore-Tex or similarly water-resistant coating covers both sections of BTE hearing devices. This coating makes BTE able to withstand rain, fog and sweat without compromising any of the electronics inside. Not surprisingly, the durability of the BTE style device is one of the main reasons it’s often recommended for children with hearing difficulty.
The larger battery pack attached to a BTE hearing device gives it more power than most other styles. This extra boost in power allows the devices to offer higher, more intense sound amplification delivered directly to the eardrum. The increased power and range of amplification is why these units are one of the few styles recommended for patients with profound hearing loss.
Because this hearing aid sits behind your ear, it’s easy to remove and adjust specific features as often as you want, and still be able to quickly return the hearing aid to its proper place when you’re finished. This is especially helpful for young children who would otherwise struggle to properly place a device partially inside their ear canal. This accessibility also allows you to accommodate other adaptive technology tools and other auditory equipment while keeping the aid in place.
Hearing aids that sit partially or entirely inside your ear canal are repeatedly exposed to your body’s natural residues, such as sebum from your skin and earwax. While these secretions are perfectly healthy, the thick, oily consistency can penetrate smaller in-the-canal devices and wreak havoc on the hearing aid’s delicate internal electrical system. BTE-style devices still require regular cleaning, but because they’re not lodged snuggly inside your ear canal, they’re exposed to less earwax and skin oil.