There is no doubt that in-the-ear hearing aids offer users many advantages, including less visibility and less wind noise. But these models are not a good option for many users because of their tiny size and their inability to correct profound hearing loss. However, behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids have come a long way over the years and offer many advantages to those who choose them, including ease of use and a broader range of correction. Learn more about your options with behind-the-ear hearing aids here.
Types of Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids
Just like with in-the-ear models, you have many choices when it comes to BTE hearing aids. From small and discreet to bigger with more features, you can find a BTE model that meets all of your needs. When many people picture hearing aids, they picture a BTE device with a custom earmold, but there are other options as well. The three main styles are the following:
BTE With Earmold. These hearing aids can accommodate any level of hearing loss, from mild to profound. They consist of a longer housing that fits behind the ear and can house more features, control, and power than any other type of hearing aid. The hearing aid is connected by a small tube to a piece that is custom-molded to the wearer’s outer ear—this is how sound is fed into the ear canal. Because all of the sensitive components are inside the casing behind the ear, they are exposed to less grit and moisture than in-the-ear models, so they are easier to keep clean and often last longer. Most children will be fitted with these models and anyone with difficulty managing small pieces may prefer this design.
Receiver-in-the-Ear. In this model, knows as RITE, the component that sits behind the ear is a little smaller and less visible to others because the receiver, or speaker, is built into the ear tip, which sits in the bowl of the outer ear. Wearers report feeling less “plugged up” than they do with an earmold, but enjoy the same advantages of the behind-the-ear piece.
Receiver-in-the-Canal (RIC). This model is similar to the RITE model, but the receiver is a tiny piece that fits completely in the ear canal. This reduces wind noise and is more comfortable for some users, but others have difficulty inserting the receiver into the ear canal.
Mini BTE. The mini BTE offers many of the advantages of both an in-the-ear model and a behind-the-ear model. The piece that sits behind the ear is small enough that it is nearly invisible to observers, but is still large enough to house important components. This is connected by ultra-thin tubing to a soft tip that sits in the ear canal, but does not completely occlude the canal. Many wearers love the open feeling of the mini BTE and manufacturers are expanding the line to accommodate higher levels of hearing loss.
All of this information may be a little overwhelming right now, but when you meet with your hearing aid technologist, he or she will discuss all of the options and show you each model. You will even be able to try them in your ears to see how they feel.
Collier Hearing Center Will Find You the Perfect Match!
In order for a hearing aid to work for you, it must fit seamlessly into your lifestyle. An active athlete will have different hearing aid needs than a cinema aficionado and a business executive will need features that a retired person doesn’t need. We will discuss your needs and desires and help you find the perfect hearing aid to not only help you hear the world clearly again, but to add to your enjoyment and quality of life. Call for an appointment today!