Posted on Friday, March 08, 2013

Hearing Aid Reviews: Behind-the-Ear Pros and Cons

Ear with Behind-the-Ear hearing aid for hearing aid reviews

The largest hearing instrument on the market, the Behind-The-Ear style of hearing aids is better able to accommodate the large size 13 batteries allowing for the strongest amplification and longest battery life. Although BTE hearing aids have seen competition from more discreet models, like Completely-in-Canal (CIC) and In-the-Canal (ITC) hearing aids, they continue to be a trusted and affordable style of hearing aids with many pros and few cons adding to their steady popularity.

Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids rest, almost like your glasses would sit, behind the ears. Because they are not limited by the space inside the ear, they can accommodate a larger, more powerful battery and amplifier. Sound travels from the outer shell of this device through a tube that inserts into the ear canal.

There are two basics types of Behind-The-Ear (BTE) hearing aids, Open Fit and Receiver-in-the-Ear:

  • Open Fit- An Open Fit hearing aid uses a small tube instead of a molding to transfer sound into the ear. A big benefit of this design is that it prevents the wearer’s voice to not sound as “strange” as it may with other styles.
    These very small hearing aids leave the ear canal open, so they are best for mild to moderate high-frequency losses where low-frequency hearing is still normal or near normal. But because of this size, the batteries used are smaller and less features are available.
  • Receiver-in-the-Ear- Receiver-in-the-Ear (RITE) hearing aids are very similar to Open Fit instruments, but have one major difference: an RITE hearing aid’s receiver is placed inside a small dome in the ear canal. For your reference, we’ve placed our samples of RITE hearing aids in their own section.
  • No matter which style you chose, picking BTE hearing aids have both pros and cons.


  • Fits Many Types of Hearing Loss- The BTE hearing aids can be used by anyone with mild to profound hearing loss and can even be worn by children.
  • Large Battery- Because of the larger body it can house greater amplification.
  • Numerous Style Options- BTE hearing aids come in a variety of colors from bright and bold to colors that blend with skin tone.
  • Strong Amplifications- The BTE's larger size allows it to accommodate a stronger battery thus giving it the strongest amplification.
  • Longest Battery Life- Because of its size the BTE hearing aids are able to accommodate the largest battery and therefore the longest battery life.
  • Most Features- BTE hearing aids are able to accommodate a wide range of features like the directional microphones, Bluetooth, and feedback canceling features.
  • Easier to Handle- Cleaning, handling and removing the battery is easier with a BTE then with a smaller, more compact model like on In-The-Canal.
  • Versatile- BTE hearing aids allow patients to choose between digital and T-coil.
  • Affordable- Basic BTE models are very affordable.
  • Easier to Clean- BTE hearing aids allow for the natural cerumen cleaning process of the ears to go unhindered and are therefore good for people with excessive earwax.
  • BTE Cons

  • Not as Discreet- Because of its position resting behind the ears, BTE hearing aids are more likely to be spotted as opposed to something in the ear or completely in the ear canal.
  • Wind Noise- Because of its position outside the ear, BTE hearing aids may have a greater problem with wind noise. There are features that help to dampen this phenomena.
  • Larger Size- Some people find the larger size of the BTE hearing aids to be a detriment, but this larger size is also the reason it can accommodate more features and has a longer lasting battery.
  • If you'd like to learn more, see your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

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