What is a Behind the Ear (BTE) Hearing aid?
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids are championed by audiologists due to their robust nature and compatibility with all types of hearing losses. Due to advancements in technology, over the years their size has become smaller and making them much more discreet than every before. They usually offer the most advanced technology within any range of aids and likely to be compatible with additional hearing aid accessories.
Behind the Ear Open Fit Hearing aids vs Receiver in canal
Most NHS suppliers standardly fit behind the ear models and it is commonplace now for wearers to be issued open fit hearing aids with slim tubes. As many NHS wearers are looking to get more discreet models or better technology and may be offered Receiver-in-Canal (RIC) models we thought it best to explain the differences between these two styles of devices. Although they may look similar there are a few differences that do make a difference and should be considered. Find out more about receiver-in-canal models.
Open fit BTE and RIC Similarities
- Both had portion of the aid sitting on top of the ear
- Both use non-custom-made ear pieces (domes)
- Neither use traditional earmould with thick tubing
- Both available in rechargeable and Bluetooth options
- Both available in “open” style
Open fit BTE and RIC Differences
- BTE models use hollow slim tube
- BTE model amplifier incased in BTE portion of aid
- RIC models use receiver wire and amplifier located underneath dome within the ear canal
- Open style BTE only suitable for milder losses as more likely to cause feedback sound if amplifying for more severe loss.
BTE hearing aids – are these devices available on the NHS? Are private models better?
Most NHS providers still currently only offer BTE style hearing aids. These can come in both the more traditional style with a custom made earmould or for milder losses you will be offered an open fit BTE with a slim tube. More recently some NHS providers have started to offer Receiver in canal (RIC) style aids, although it is only some. For more discreet models such as custom or invisible styles you may need to see a private audiologist. At Integrate Hearing we offer all styles of hearing aids from all UK leading manufacturers. Find out more about our invisible styles.
Whilst BTE models are available both privately and on the NHS advancements in technology on the private market mean that many of the available models will contain better features or be more cosmetically pleasing. Our hearing aids also come with a fully comprehensive aftercare package, which surpasses that standardly offered on the NHS, to keep you hearing at your best.
BTE hearing aid pros and cons
- Available in lots of colour choices from bright to matching skin/hair tone
- Suitable for severe to profound losses
- Most robust against moisture/wax/damage
- Great technology not limited by size
- Longest battery life
- Rechargeable options available. Learn More
- Bluetooth options available. Learn More
- Least discreet style in comparison to custom or RIC products
- Earmould needs regular cleaning to avoid wax blockages/discoloration
- Wind noise complications due to location of the microphones
- Care needed when removing facemask to avoid potential loss
BTE Devices Parts & Accessories including earmoulds and cleaning accessories
This style has great potential for longevity when compared to in-the-ear models (ITE) as all of the functioning parts of the aid are incased within the aid itself.
Replacement parts for the hearing aid include the batteries (where not rechargeable) and occasionally you may need a replacement earmould due to wear and tear or discoloration. We also recommend cleaning kits and tools to keep your hearing aid functioning correctly. Don’t worry, we will explain all necessary accessories, how often they will need replacement, what comes as standard or the replacement cost. Replacement accessory costs are minimal, however at Integrate Hearing we make sure you are up to speed with everything you need to know so there will be no hidden costs!
Are BTE devices right for you? How much do they cost?
At Integrate hearing we offer behind the ear and open fit hearing aids from all manufacturers, including rechargeable and Bluetooth models at all price points. To find out more about our 4 ranges of aids click here or contact us on 01978799387 to discuss our products and book a hearing aid assessment for a 14 day free trial.