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BTE hearing aids

Behind The Ear Hearing Aids

BTE Hearing Aids

Behind The Ear or BTE hearing aids have been around for a very long time. In the recent past, they have got smaller, more versatile and more powerful. Let's talk about BTE hearing aids.

Behind The Ear Hearing Aids (BTE)

 

Overview:

There are three major main types of hearing aid: Behind The Ear (BTE), In The Ear (ITE) and Receiver In Canal. Each has their own set of advantages and disadvantages. If you are thinking of buying a hearing aid, it is worth spending some time thinking about which type would be best for you. Ideally, you should visit an audiologist or aid vendor who will give you a hearing assessment and advice on which aids would be most suitable for you. Modern BTEs are a far cry from traditional hearing aids, today's behind the ear hearing aids are smaller and more discreet than ever before. This style of hearing device is available in many different shapes and colours and over recent years, they have gotten much smaller than they once were. They are hugely versatile devices and they will fit nearly every hearing loss.

What is a behind the ear hearing aid

Behind the ear hearing aids have a main shell section, an earmold and a connecting tube. The main shell houses all of the electronics and the battery. The BTE hearing aid hooks over the top of your ear and rests behind the ear. Traditionally a plastic tube connects the hearing aid to a custom earpiece called an earmold that fits in your ear. More recently many of the hearing aid brands have introduced thin tubing, (thin plastic tubing) which connects BTEs to the ear. Thin tubing can be used with a generic dome or a custom tip. Thin tubing is very discreet but it is not suitable for all hearing losses.

How do behind the ear hearing aids work?

A hearing aid has three basic parts: a microphone, amplifier, and speaker. The hearing aid receives sound through a microphone, which converts the sound waves to electrical signals and sends them to an amplifier. The amplifier increases the power of the signals and then sends them to the ear through a speaker. All of these components are within the shell of the BTE which sits on your ear. The sound is transferred to your ear through a tube and earmould or tip. 

What hearing losses do BTE hearing aids cater for?

BTEs are exceptionally versatile and they cater for all hearing losses from mild all the way to severe to profound. 

What are the different types of BTE hearing aids

Generally, there are four types of behind the ear hearing aids, Mini BTEs, Standard BTEs, Power BTEs and Superpower BTEs. Normally the manufacturers will make different styles for differing losses although with the advances in hearing aid technology that has changed a little. Traditionally there would be:

  • Mini BTE: Very small and discreet BTE that would generally cover mild to moderate/severe hearing losses. These types of hearing aid are often fitted with thin tubes. 
  • Standard BTE: Slightly larger than the MINI and would usually have more options such as a Tele-coil, a programme button and perhaps a volume control. This BTE would be good for mild to severe hearing losses. These types of hearing aid can be fitted with traditional or thin tubes. 
  • Power BTE: This device would be designed to cover severe hearing losses. They will nearly always come with a programme button, volume control, Tele-coil and usually the ability to use FM systems. These types of hearing aid are normally fitted with traditional tubes and earmoulds. 
  • Superpower BTE: This device is for profound hearing loss. Even the superpower devices have become quite small in comparison to the older styles. Again, these would be fully loaded with programme button, volume control, Tele-coil and the ability to connect to FM systems. These types of hearing aid are fitted with traditional tubes and earmoulds.  

What BTE hearing aids have Bluetooth?

Most modern BTEs are Bluetooth hearing aids, even if they need to use an intermediary streamer. There are also direct connection, or so-called Made For iPhone BTE hearing devices. Made for iPhone BTE hearing aids include:

  • Signia Motion 13 Nx BTE Hearing Aids
  • Signia Motion 13 P Nx BTE Hearing Aids
  • Signia Motion Charge N Go Nx
  • Resound LiNX 67 BTE Hearing Aids
  • Resound LiNX 77 BTE Hearing Aids
  • Resound LiNX 88 BTE Hearing Aids
  • Resound Enzo ET-88 BTE Hearing Aids
  • Resound Enzo ET-98 BTE Hearing Aids
  • Oticon BTE 13 PP

Can you shower with a behind the ear hearing aid?

Most modern BTEs are rated waterproof, however, it's best to remove your hearing aid from your ear before showering, bathing or swimming. While they are graded waterproof most hearing aid brands envisage that being tested by rain showers, not necessarily you scuba diving. So, you can get those hearing aids wet. However, why take the chance of something going wrong. 

What are the advantages of BTE hearing devices?

We believe that BTE hearing aids are some of the best hearing aid types around for several reasons, the advantages are:

  • Strong control: BTE hearing aids are usually fully functional devices that offer superior user control options.
  • Tele-coil: Nearly all BTE devices except for some of the Mini BTEs come with a Tele-coil.
  • Extremely reliable hearing aids: BTE hearing aids are some of the most reliable hearing aids around and tend to keep working for a very long time
  • Easy to handle: BTE hearing aids are pretty easy to handle and because they come in a host of different battery options there is nearly always one that you can use even if you have limited dexterity. 
  •  

Fully Functional

BTE hearing aids nearly always have a full load of hardware including volume controls, programme buttons, and telecoils. The telecoil is a useful addition if you want access to loop systems in public buildings like churches, conference centres, the post office. In fact, many taxis in London are fitted with loop systems. Even though wireless communication systems in hearing aids is now the norm, the telecoil is still a good thing to have. The only issues that occur in relation to it are how well the loop system is working or how well it has been fitted. 

Extremely Reliable Hearing Aids

BTE hearing aids are probably the most reliable of hearing aids, they very seldom fail. Because all of the components are encased in the hearing aid and the hearing aid is worn at the back of the ear, very little or no wax or moisture can get at them. When something goes wrong with a BTE it tends to be either the physical controls or the microphones. Nearly all of the manufacturers have introduced new types of microphone covers that almost completely enclose the microphones. So even microphone failure may be a thing of the past.

Easy To Use

BTE hearing aids tend to be easy to handle and place in the ear, so for people with dexterity or vision issues, they are a good choice. 

What are the disadvantages of BTE hearing devices?

I have thought about this long and hard for quite a while and I don't really see any disadvantages. Discretion might be an issue for some, but even that isn't as true as it once was. A small BTE with a thin tube is a very discreet hearing aid to wear. It would be almost as discreet as many of the RIC / RITE devices. Even the larger BTEs are a lot more discreet than they once were. The other issue is that you wear it over your ear, for some with glasses that is an irritant, but I wouldn't call it a disadvantage. 

What are the contra-indications to wearing BTEs?

I am stuck for any contra-indications to wearing a BTE apart from the obvious that you have no ear really. Read about BTE care and maintenance here

Let's Take A Look At What's Available

SigniaOticonWidex PhonakResound

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Signia BTE Hearing Aids

The latest hearing aid platform from Signia is the Nx hearing aid range. Signia BTEs are called Motion hearing aids and they are available in three levels of technology. The 7Nx, the 5Nx and the 3 Nx.

Motion 13 Nx

Motion 13 Nx

This device is a BTE device using a 13 battery, again it offers the new system which separately processes the wearer’s own voice. It also comes with superior connectivity with direct streaming and the myControl App. It also has access to the full live remote support via TeleCare 3.0. The device also offers the rocker switch for programme and volume control changes. This is a pretty versatile device which offers a telecoil option with the simple switching of the battery door. The device is IP67 rated for dust and moisture.  The device is available in three levels of technology.

Motion 13 Nx

Motion 13P Nx

This device is a power BTE device using a 13 battery and is suitable for people with severe to profound hearing loss. It offers the new system which separately processes the wearer’s own voice. It also comes with superior connectivity with direct streaming and the myControl App. It also has access to the full live remote support via TeleCare 3.0. The device also offers the rocker switch for programme and volume control changes. This is a pretty versatile device which offers a telecoil option with the simple switching of the battery door. The device is IP67 rated for dust and moisture.The device is available in three levels of technology. 

Signia Motion Gharge N Go Hearing aids

Motion Charge N Go Nx

The Motion rechargeable hearing aid is a very versatile device that offers coverage for mild, moderate and severe hearing losses. It can be fitted with a thin tube and instant tip, which you can see above, or a traditional ear hook, tube and ear mould. It means that people who like BTEs now have a rechargeable option.

The Relevant Power Facts

Signia say that Motion Charge&Go’s high-capacity power cell will allow for enhanced Bluetooth connectivity. This will enable users to enjoy high-quality, long-lasting stereo streaming of TV audio, music, and phone calls directly to both hearing aids.

They say that you will be able to stream up to five hours per day and still benefit from 17 hours of battery life before needing to recharge. That's pretty good streaming time and battery life. So for a quick overview:

  • Up to 17 hours of battery life with 5 hours of streaming
  • Just 3 hours to fully charged
  • 30 mins of charging gives 6 hours of use
  • Easy wireless charging, drop them in the charger and voila
  • Made For iPhone, Direct connection to iPhone
  • High-quality audio streaming
  • Ultra HD e2e and Bluetooth connectivity

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Oticon BTE Hearing Aids

The latest hearing aid platform from Oticon is the Opn, the range has been exceptionally well received and it is available in three levels of hearing aid technology. The Opn 1 (top of the range), the Opn 2 and the Opn 3. Oticon has just one BTE hearing aid available on the Opn range, the BTE13 PP.

Oticon

Opn BTE13 PP

The powerful and compact BTE13 PP fits hearing losses up to 105 dB SPL to benefit people with severe hearing loss. The plus power solution features a telecoil, a tactile double pushbutton for easy volume and program control and a two-colour LED indicator to monitor hearing aid status for both users and caregivers. The device is available in the three different levels of technology in the Opn range. 

Oticon Opn BTE 13-PP

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Widex BTE Hearing Aid Models

The latest Widex hearing aid platform is the Evoke, however, some countries are still selling the Unique hearing aid range. No matter, the following BTE hearing aid types are available on both the Unique and Evoke ranges of hearing aids from Widex.

Unique Fashion Mini hearing aid

Widex

Widex Fashion Mini

The Fashion Mini is a compact, comfortable and attractive mini behind the ear hearing device model. It offers excellent battery life, features a program button for volume or program selection. It can be used with their thin tube and custom or instant fit tips or with a traditional tube and mould. The Fashion Mini can fit mild to severe hearing losses.

Unique Fashion hearing aid

Widex

Widex Fashion

The Fashion is a comfortable and attractive behind the ear model. It offers excellent battery life, features a dual function button for volume and program selection and a telecoil. It can be used with their thin tube and custom or instant fit tips or with a traditional tube and mould. The Fashion can fit mild to severe to profound hearing losses.

Unique Fashion Power hearing aid

Widex

Widex Fashion Power

The Fashion Power model is a power hearing aid for people with severe to profound hearing loss. It is a comfortable and attractive behind the ear model. It offers excellent battery life, features a dual function button for volume and program selection and a telecoil. The Fashion Power can fit mild to severe to profound hearing losses and uses a traditional tube and earmould.

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Phonak BTE Hearing Aid Models

The latest Phonak hearing aid platform is the new Marvel, however, Phonak has not yet released their BTE devices on this platform and aren't expected to until next year. The current Phonak hearing aid platform that has BTEs available is the Belong range. Phonak BTEs are always called Bolero and they always offer a full range of models. They also offer a rechargeable BTE hearing aid. Phonak have separate BTE devices for people with severe to profound hearing loss called the Naida. 

The Bolero Range

Bolero Belong MPhonak Bolero B-M

The B-M model is the smallest of the range, a micro BTE powered with a 312 battery it will cover Moderate to Severe hearing losses. The device comes with a programme button and has an onboard telecoil.

The device can be fitted with a thin tube fitting or a traditional tube and mould configuration. The device will be available in the four levels of technology, the 90, the 70, the 50 and the 30.

Bolero Belong PPhonak Bolero B-P

The B-P model is slightly larger, it is powered by a 13 battery cell and comes with a programme button, volume control, telecoil and will cover up to severe hearing losses.

The device can be fitted with a thin tube fitting or a traditional tube and mould configuration. The device will be available in the four levels of technology, the 90, the 70, the 50 and the 30.

Bolero B-SP

The B-SP is the largest model, again it is powered by a 13 battery and comes with a programme button, volume control and telecoil. The device will cover severe to profound hearing losses.

The device can be fitted with a thin tube fitting or a traditional tube and mould configuration. The device will be available in the four levels of technology, the 90, the 70, the 50 and the 30.

Bolero Belong PRBolero B-PR

The B-PR is the rechargeable model which runs on a sealed and integrated lithium-ion power pack. The device is similar in size to the Bolero B-SP. It also has a programme button, volume control and telecoil. The device can be fitted with a thin tube fitting or a traditional tube and mould configuration. It will cover moderate to severe hearing losses and it will be available in the 90, the 70 and the 50 levels of technology only.

What are the key features of the Bolero P-R

  • Rechargeable lithium-ion power cell
  • 24 hours continuous use with up to 5 hours streaming
  • Easy charging
  • Unique OneShell design
  • Probably only available in the 90, 70 and 50 level of tech

Naida Belong BTE Hearing Aids

There are two traditional BTE hearing aids in the Naida Belong range, they are as follows:

Naida B SPNaida B SP

The Naida B SP (Super Power) is a traditional Superpower BTE hearing powered by a size 13 battery that will suit people with a severe to profound hearing loss. The hearing aid has both a programme button and a volume control and will be available in the B90, B70, B50 and B30 levels of technology.

The new Naida B SP can be fitted with a power slim tube and tip which offers real discretion. The power slim tube can be fitted with either acrylic or silicon custom tips. The device can also be fitted with a standard thick tube and mould configuration.

The power output on the Belong SP is the same as the Naida V and it matches the power output of the older Naida Quest UP. This means that more people with severe to profound hearing loss can now avail of a more discreet option.

While the SP runs on a size thirteen battery the power management system that Phonak uses ensures that the battery drain is controlled. The device is a little bigger than the RIC but it is still a very small Super Power hearing aid. 

 

Naida B UPNaida B UP

The Naida B UP (Ultra Power) is a traditional Ultra power BTE hearing powered by a size 675 battery (huge battery, lots of power, big smiles)  that will suit people with a profound hearing loss. The hearing aid has both a  programme  button and a volume control and will be available in the B90, B70, B50 and B30 levels of technology. 

The power and size of the new Naida B UP is in line with the Venture UP, giving it even more performance for even the most profound hearing loss. The B UP can also be fitted with a power slim tube and custom tip which means it can be a pretty discreet option.

This is definitely one of the smallest 675 traditional type hearing aid solutions for profound hearing loss. It will give people with profound hearing loss a more discreet solution.

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Resound BTE Hearing Aid Models

The latest full Resound platform is the LiNX 3D, while they have just introduced the new LiNX Quattro, that range has no BTE devices. Resound offer a choice of BTEs within the LiNX 3D range that suit hearing losses up to severe. They have another range called the Enzo 3D that offers two hearing aid models for people with severe to profound hearing loss. Let's take a look at the models.

LiNX 3D BTE Models

Resound LiNX 3D 67 BTE (Behind The Ear)

Resound LiNX 3D LT67 BTE hearing aidThe LT67 is the smallest of the behind the ear hearing aids from Resound. It can be fitted with either a thin tube or a traditional tube and mould. It has a telecoil onboard. The device is suitable for hearing losses from mild to moderate-severe.

The functional features of this model are as follows, it can have a push button, volume control, the devices all have smart start which gives you a couple of seconds to get it in your ear before it comes on. However, you will get the direct audio streaming, ear to ear communication, and wireless accessories. More importantly, you will get access to the Smart 3D app and all the benefits that it delivers to your experience. These aids take a size 312 battery. 

Resound LiNX 3D 77 BTE (Behind The Ear)

Resound LiNX 3D LT 77 BTEThe LT77 is the mid-size behind the ear hearing aids from Resound. It can be fitted with either a thin tube or a traditional tube and mould. It has a telecoil onboard. The device is suitable for hearing losses from mild to severe.

The functional features of this model are as follows, it can have a push button, volume control, the devices all have smart start which gives you a couple of seconds to get it in your ear before it comes on. However, you will get the direct audio streaming, ear to ear communication, and wireless accessories. More importantly, you will get access to the Smart 3D app and all the benefits that it delivers to your experience. This device takes a size 13 battery. 

Resound LiNX 3D 88 BTE (Behind The Ear)

Resound LiNX 3D LT88 BTE hearing aidThe LT88 is the largest and most powerful of the LiNX 3D behind the ear hearing aids from Resound. It can be fitted with either a thin tube or a traditional tube and mould. It has a telecoil onboard. The device is suitable for hearing losses from moderate to severe.

The functional features of this model are as follows, it can have a push button, volume control, the devices all have smart start which gives you a couple of seconds to get it in your ear before it comes on. However, you will get the direct audio streaming, ear to ear communication, and wireless accessories. More importantly, you will get access to the Smart 3D app and all the benefits that it delivers to your experience. This device takes a size 13 battery. 

Enzo 3D BTE Models

The Enzo 3D BTE 88 and the BTE 98 side by side

There is two hearing aid models in the range both of which are Behind The Ear hearing aids and both of which are extremely powerful. The BTE 88 is the smaller of the two and takes a size 13 battery. The BTE 98 is larger but takes the 675 battery that many people with this hearing loss are used to.

The 98 is also more powerful than the 88, although not by much. However, Resound say that the 98 will get twelve days of use on the 675 battery, that's fantastic battery life for a smart hearing aid.

Resound

Enzo 3D ET-88

Resound Enzo 3D 88 ReSound ENZO 3D ET-88 is the smaller of the two hearing aids but it is a complete super power hearing solution. It provides high levels of amplification without feedback. It offers exceptional clarity and sound quality, and balances improved hearing in noise with preserved access to environmental sounds.

The Smart Range C platform in ReSound ENZO 3D supports their 5th generation of 2.4 GHz wireless technology. This allows ear-to-ear communication along with direct connection to the ReSound Smart 3D™ app, and lets the hearing aids connect wirelessly to iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and select Android phone models via Bluetooth 4.0.

It also includes the industry-first ReSound Assist, which offers you fine tuning and hearing aid update opportunities remotely via secure cloud technology. ReSound ENZO 3D HP BTE hearing aids are iSolateTM nanotech coated for optimum durability and meet the IP58 classification for ingress protection.

Resound

Enzo 3D ET-98

Resound Enzo 3D 98ReSound ENZO 3D ET-98 is the larger of the two hearing aids but it does offer a more traditional 675 battery super power hearing solution. It provides high levels of amplification without feedback. It offers exceptional clarity and sound quality, and balances improved hearing in noise with preserved access to environmental sounds.

The Smart Range C platform in ReSound ENZO 3D supports their 5th generation of 2.4 GHz wireless technology. This allows ear-to-ear communication along with direct connection to the ReSound Smart 3D™ app, and lets the hearing aids connect wirelessly to iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and select Android phone models via Bluetooth 4.0.

It also includes the industry-first ReSound Assist, which offers you fine tuning and hearing aid update opportunities remotely via secure cloud technology. ReSound ENZO 3D HP BTE hearing aids are iSolateTM nanotech coated for optimum durability and meet the IP58 classification for ingress protection.

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