Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids

Supportive, versatile, and easy to handle

A traditional and versatile device, the behind-the-ear hearing aid is the most popular one. For those experiencing any hearing loss, the BTE can be adapted to fit all ears.

The BTE hearing aid is worn both behind and in the ear. The shell of the hearing aid rests behind the ear and is connected by a thin tube to the earpiece that fits in the ear. There are various earpieces available for your selected BTE hearing aid, both customized earmolds and instant fit earpieces, often called domes.

Drawing of an ear with an Philips HearLink behind-the-ear hearing aid showing the exact positioning

How do behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids work?

The behind-the-ear hearing aid comprises three main components.

The main shell

The BTE sits behind your ear and contains the electronics, the battery, and buttons for easy volume and program change. The main electrical components of the hearing aid are also located in the main shell including the microphone, amplifier, processing chip, and receiver (loudspeaker).

There is one exception for the receiver-in-the-ear BTE, the receiver is placed in the ear canal and is not located in the main shell. The main shell is available in different colors to match your hair and skin tone and comes in various designs to best match your style.

An earpiece

This component is either a custom-made earmold or an instant fit dome. An earmold is an earpiece that is made for your ear only. Your hearing care specialist takes a mold of your ear anatomy to construct the earmold for your ear.

There are also instant fit earpieces, often called domes, that are made of soft material and come in different sizes. These earpieces can be fit immediately, and the various shapes and sizes offer the flexibility to find the one that works best for you.

Both types of earpieces allow for various amounts of openness of the ear canal to offer an optimal fit for your ears and hearing loss.

The tube

The BTE's main shell and earpiece connect via a plastic tube. This tube comes in different sizes and lengths to best match your ears and selected device.

Fitting the hearing aid

Once you have selected the best BTE hearing aid for you, the hearing aid is fitted by the hearing care specialist to give you the best sound to help match your hearing loss. This is accomplished through the hearing aid and its sound processing functionality.

This basic functionality uses a straightforward process. The microphone, located within the main shell behind the ear, picks up the sound and converts the sound waves into electrical signals which are processed by the chip. These signals move to the amplifier, where it increases the sound’s volume. This amplified sound is transferred to the speaker and through the plastic tube and earpiece into your ear.

Advantages of a behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid

The behind-the-ear hearing aid can help those with hearing loss make sounds more audible and help you feel more confident and comfortable. There are several advantages to choosing the BTE as your hearing device; these include:

  • The BTE hearing aid can work for the largest range of hearing losses.
  • The BTE with custom or instant fit earpieces offers the greatest flexibility to match your ears.
  • The BTE hearing device is available in models that allow for wireless connectivity, which would allow you to connect your hearing aid with your smartphone, television, radio, or other devices. It can help ease these everyday activities, making them more enjoyable and bringing you closer to friends and family.
  • The size of the BTE hearing aid makes it easier to hold and to adjust both for yourself and others.
  • Flexibility in power. BTE hearing aids can have the widest range of battery options compared to the other forms. Depending on what you need, from the smallest to the largest battery, rechargeable and non-rechargeable, the BTE hearing aid has the option best fit for you.

Variation of the BTE hearing aid style

There are different types of behind-the-ear hearing aids available to you. The range of features and capabilities offers the user choice when deciding on what style of BTE hearing aid they feel may suit their needs best. If the behind-the-ear style of hearing aid is something you are interested in, there are a variety of available behind-the-ear hearing aid models. These are:

Receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) hearing aid

Receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) hearing aids are some of the most popular and technically advanced hearing aids on the market today.

Like the BTE hearing aids in their design, the RITE aids are smaller in size, more discreet and have one major difference. The RITE hearing aid speaker is situated within your ear canal rather than in the shell behind your ear. Sound transmits between the two via the small plastic tube which encases an invisible wire. The speaker in the ear canal offers a variety of benefits in size and functionality.

Read more about the receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) hearing aid here.

Mini BTE hearing aid

The mini BTE refers to the smallest types of BTE hearing aids. The smaller shell makes it less visible behind the ear compared to the standard BTE. It most often has thin tubes, smaller tubes than those used with the standard BTE, and uses both custom and instant fit (standard) earpieces. Even with its smaller size, it can still fit a wide range of hearing losses.

miniBTE hearing aid

The miniBTE refers to the smallest types of standard BTE hearing aids. The smaller shell makes it less visible behind the ear compared to the standard BTE. It can be fit using both standard tubing or, most frequently, with thin tubes, smaller tubes than those used with the standard BTE, and uses both custom and instant fit earpieces. Even with its smaller size, it can still fit a wide range of hearing losses. Philips HearLink offers two styles of miniBTE:

miniBTE T R - rechargeable hearing aid powered with AI sound technology for even better hearing. It is recommend for slight to moderately severe hearing losses. Read more about the features and capabilities of the Philips HearLink miniBTE T R hearing aid.

miniBTE T - hearing aid powered with AI sound technology. It is recommend for slight to moderately severe hearing losses. Read more about the features and capabilities of the Philips HearLink miniBTE T hearing aid.

Standard BTE hearing aid

A standard BTE often refers to the largest type of BTE hearing aids. The larger shell allows for some features the smaller BTEs cannot fit into their smaller shells. This BTE also most frequently uses the larger connecting tubes and custom earpieces.

The larger size can accommodate larger buttons and batteries assisting in the handling of the hearing aids. The standard BTE offers the largest range of amplification to match the largest range of hearing losses.

BTE PP- A strong hearing aid. Its many features allow you to personalize your hearing experience as well as deal with a broader input of sounds. Read more about the features and capabilities of the Philips HearLink BTE PP hearing aid.

BTE SP- This super power (SP) hearing aid offers the user a simple and practical functionality in its design. This BTE offers more power for those who need it, while continuing to provide the same great features as other standard BTEs.

BTE UP- This ultra power (UP) hearing aid offers the most power to meet the needs of those with more significant hearing loss. The BTE UP brings power and functionality to the family of standard BTEs.

Learn more about the behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid

If you seek further information regarding the features and capabilities of the BTE hearing aid, read more about Philips HearLink behind-the-ear hearing aids here.

Get to know your options

Finding the right type and style of hearing aid for you can depend on many factors. It could be the degree of hearing loss you have, your lifestyle preferences, or cosmetic concerns. Learn more about Philips HearLink hearing aids.

Explore Philips HearLink BTE hearing aids

  • The robust rechargeable

    This rechargeable hearing aid is powered with AI sound technology for even better hearing. The rechargeable battery is fully charged within only 3.5 hours. It is commonly used for slight to moderately severe hearing losses. It is a full-featured behind-the-ear hearing aid with telecoil and push button.

  • Philips HearLink behind-the-ear hearing aid (BTE)

    The strong

    The full-featured powerful behind-the-ear hearing aid with telecoil and double Program Button. This hearing aid style is most commonly used for severe to profound hearing losses. It’s powerful and easy to handle.

  • The robust

    This hearing aid is powered with AI sound technology for even better hearing. It is most commonly used for slight to moderately severe hearing losses. It is a full-featured behind-the-ear hearing aid with telecoil and push button.

Man sitting on a couch checking his hearing with the online hearing test

Check your hearing

Do you need to ask people to repeat themselves? Do you have to turn up the TV volume?

With our free online hearing test we can give you a quick indication if you might have a hearing loss. This can be the important first step for you to improve your hearing.

A man at a consultation at a hearing care specialist or an audiologist

Contact a hearing care specialist

We can help you find your closest hearing care specialist who can provide you with Philips HearLink hearing aids.