BTE stands for "Behind The Ear" and it refers to a type of hearing aid. BTEs fit behind the ear, and they have a small clear tube that transmits the sound over the top of the ear and down into the ear canal. The tube is connected to a clear ear mold that fits in the outer ear.
Although many people believe that the newer, smaller hearing aids such as the ITE, the ITC or the CIC are more advanced, actually, the reverse is usually true. The tiny in-the-ear hearing aids usually don't have room for the latest in features and technology.
Some features that are common in BTEs, but less common (or not available at all) in smaller aids include:
People sometimes also believe that the BTEs are more noticeable, but that is frequently not true, or significant. BTEs are often less visible because most of the exposed parts are clear, and because the unit itself is tucked behind the ear and frequently hidden by hair. Also, to the extent that the above BTE features can help you hear better, your hearing loss becomes less noticeable ... because you can hear better.
Hearing aids are becoming quite commonplace, and most people will notice a hearing loss before they'll notice a hearing aid.
For the less vain and more outgoing, BTEs are now available in a range of colors, and many users enjoy making a "fashion" statement
with a bright red (or other color) BTE. Some people even add stickers or jewelry
to their aids. It's a fashion statement that has benefits, since communication is often improved when others are aware that you have a hearing loss and are doing something about it.
Many people who rely on their hearing aids actually prefer the BTE, because it helps them hear better, is more comfortable and convenient.