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Pros and Cons of BTE Hearing Aids

Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aid

When your audiologist has informed you that a hearing aid might be the best choice for you, it’s important to know that choosing a hearing aid is a big decision. You will have to immerse yourself in an unfamiliar world to make a choice you have never made before. This can be confusing, especially because hearing aid design and styles include new nuances.

A good place to approach finding a hearing aid is to learn about one of the more popular types of devices: behind-the-ear hearing aids. BTE — which stands for “behind the ear” — hearing aids are arguably the most common hearing aids on the modern market, but they aren’t for everyone. Consider the following advantages and disadvantages of BTE aids:


Given the popularity of BTE hearing aids, it’s no surprise that they have a number of benefits that you may want to consider:

  • Comfortable to wear. BTE hearing aids are very comfortable to wear, and you don’t have to worry about direct contact with the ear canal (which some users find uncomfortable or odd to experience).
  • Easy maintenance. As BTE devices do not come in direct contact with the ear canal, most users find they are far easier to maintain than in-the-ear (ITE) or in-the-canal (ITC) options. If you want a hearing aid that’s going to be easy to live with, then a BTE device might be the best choice for you.
  • Lower cost. BTE hearing aids are usually the most affordable kinds of devices and are friendly to most budgets.
  • Minimal feedback. The internal components of BTE hearing aids are more distanced from one another, which makes feedback less of a problem for users.


Of course, there are always downsides when using any kind of hearing aid, and BTE devices are no exception. Here are a few of the cons you need to know about when considering BTE hearing aids:

  • Reduced sound quality. When compared to ITE or ITC hearing aids, it is undeniable that BTE hearing aids do not have the capacity to produce the highest levels of sound quality.
  • Not as suitable for high levels of hearing loss. BTE hearing aids can work very well for users experiencing high levels as hearing loss, but many people find that other devices offer improved amplification that allows for a better experience than BTE hearing aids can offer.
  • Less discreet. If you’re concerned about onlookers being able to see your hearing aid, then BTE options are less discreet than other options. As they sit directly outside the ear, they are more liable to be noticed by other people.
  • Wind noise. Users of BTE devices are more liable to experience issues with wind noise when using their hearing aid in open spaces.

No device is 100 percent perfect, and while BTE hearing aids do offer a range of benefits, they also have their downsides. BTE hearing aids work well for most people, but it’s important to always discuss your options with your audiologist to ensure you find the hearing aid that will work best for your particular preferences.