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What are Behind the Ear Hearing Aids?

By Ken Black
Updated May 17, 2024
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Behind the ear hearing aids are devices where the main portion of the aid sits behind the ear, somewhat obstructed from view. The casing of the device is usually produced in a color that closely simulates the natural color of skin, to further mask the appearance. The technology in behind the ear hearing aids has been around for years, and is somewhat dated, when compared to in-ear aids. Therefore, they tend to be a good option for those needing cheap hearing aids.

These hearing aids work by having a microphone located very close to the ear. This microphone picks up and amplifies the sound, transferring it into the ear via a small, clear tube. In some ways, behind the ear hearing aids may look very similar to the devices law enforcement officials sometimes wear when maintaining radio contact with each other.

Behind the ear hearing aids are offered both as digital hearing aids, and as programmable hearing aids. These are the two main types of hearing aids currently dominating the market. The digital aid tends to focus on the overall quality of the sound, making the most natural representation possible. Programmable aids automatically adjust for the ambient noise and other volume factors, which makes them a choice for people who find sudden changes in volume annoying.

Whether an individual chooses programmable or digital is not a big issue when it comes to behind the ear hearing aids. This is an individual preference that may depend, to some degree, on the type of hearing problem the individual has. Consulting with an audiologist or hearing aid professional will help individuals make a good choice. If the results with one type of aid are not acceptable, many hearing aid companies may offer an exchange policy so that a different type of aid can be tried.

Some may prefer in ear aids over behind the ear hearing aids simply because of cosmetic reasons. Aids placed in the ear are virtually invisible whereas those located behind the ear are usually easily visible, especially from a close distance. Again, this comes down to a personal choice, and those who do not care about the aesthetics may find the behind the ear models better suit their needs.

Models that fit in the ear have some limitations that behind the ear hearing aids can overcome. Due to the small size, the battery life and sound reproduction quality are usually not as good for the devices going directly into the ear. Although these limitations are acceptable for some, those with severe hearing issues may find they do not adequately handle their needs.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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