Benefits of BTE Hearing Aids
While the most popular style of hearing aid today is the RIC, a small behind the ear open fit hearing aid, traditional BTE hearing aids still have their place in the hearing aid market. Traditional behind-the-ear hearing aids are larger, often times more durable, and more powerful than the smaller RIC devices. You can see a list of all the latest BTE hearing aids on the market (including prices) here. For a long time, people were fit with traditional BTEs because they needed a very powerful hearing aid, but due to the advent of the RIC style (with a custom mold), less people are getting “clunky” BTEs and opting for the smaller, more discrete RIC style. But that doesn’t mean that BTEs don’t excel at certain things.
First, if you have a profound hearing loss, you’re still probably better off going with a traditional BTE with rubber tubing that leads down your ear to a custom ear mold. These hearing aids are still the most powerful devices, and many profoundly deaf people say they prefer the “punch” sound of the BTE as compared to the RIC- it’s a stronger sound. BTE hearing aids can often squeeze out a few extra decibels of power as compared to a RIC device, and without that annoying feedback.
Another reason to consider behind-the-ear hearing aids is if you need something that is very durable. BTE hearing aids are known to be the most durable aids for a number of reasons. First, there are no electronic parts inside your ear unlike traditional aids. With BTE’s, you’ll have a custom ear mold in your ear, with a rubber tubing which runs through the mold and connects to the hearing aid behind the ear. Because all the components are housed inside the shell of the aid behind your ear, they are protected from the warm and oily environment inside your ear so there is less chance of moisture/wax related problems, which is the #1 reason why a hearing aid might need repair. Another reason they are so durable is because they can be sealed off very well to protect the hearing aid from dust and water, a hearing aid like the Siemen’s Aquaris is a good example of that.
If you need a discrete hearing aid, a traditional BTE may not be the best option for you, as they are pretty noticeable due to the rubber tubing which leads from the aid (behind your ear) to the ear mold (inside your ear). Behind the ear aids are the largest style of aid, so they are capably of housing the latest technologies, like Bluetooth, directional microphones and telecoils. BTE hearing aids tend to be easier to handle than their smaller counterparts, making cleaning and battery replacement less difficult. Because BTEs are bigger, they are going to get a much longer battery life as well. BTEs that run on a size 675 battery can last up to a month on a single battery, far surpassing any other style of hearing aid.