Behind The Ear (BTE) Hearing Aids

Next in our series on types of hearing aids are those that fit behind the ear. These models come in different styles and sizes from the traditional size hearing aids which have better battery life and are more powerful to the micro behind the ear hearing aid. To see previous posts on types of hearing aids click here.

 Behind the ear (BTE) hearing instruments have two parts:

  • The Earpiece is an acrylic/silicon piece customised to the shape of your ear but it can also be a slim tube attached to a lightweight silicon dome. The earpiece sits in the bowl of your ear or the ear canal and feeds the sound into your ear. There are different styles and shapes, depending on your particular preferences and needs.
  • The Hearing Device is where the all the electronics are housed, including the microphones, computer chip, and the receiver (sound generator). It’s tucked neatly behind your ear and has a plastic tube to join it to the earpiece.

They come in a range of colours, from discreet ‘hair tones’ (such as silver, brown and blonde) to funky colours (such as racing green, vibrant red and purple). Many can now be used with ‘slim tubes’, making them more discreet and comfortable to wear than most ‘in-the-ear’ models. When the ‘behind-the-ear’ models is very small, it is sometimes called an ‘on-the-ear’ model instead.

Colours available in BTE Hearing Aids from Phonak

Colours available in BTE Hearing Aids from Phonak


  • The electronics are housed outside of the ear canal therefore they are away from the wax, body heat and moisture of the ear canal and usually last longer and require less servicing.
  • You can attach different hearing instruments to the ear mould, allowing you to try out new models or use a spare/loan aid whilst your usual one gets repaired.
  • They can be more powerful due to the extra room they have for larger components.
  • The batteries generally last longer.


  • Some people may find them fiddly.
  • Some people feel they are “too noticeable”.

Take a virtual tour on the Starkey website of what a BTE Hearing Aid looks like from all sides and in an array of colours.

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All information is provided in the interests of Hearing Health education and is of a general nature. In all cases you should consult your doctor or other allied health professional for advice regarding your individual circumstances.