BTE Hearing Aids
BTE stands for “behind-the-ear” because it goes, as you can probably guess, behind your ear. Not only are BTEs easy to use, they are also easy to clean.
A BTE hearing aid has two main components: the clear, flexible silicone tubing. This allows the amplified sound to travel from the hearing aid body to your ear.
The other component of a BTE hearing aid is the hard plastic hearing aid body. The hearing aid is where the sound is taken in, processed and then amplified to help you hear better. All of the electronics—the microphone, sound processor, and speakers—are kept safe inside this hard plastic case.
Now, it’s possible your hearing aid goes behind the ear, but instead of a clear tubing, it has a long wire covered in flexible plastic that connects to a speaker located at the tip. If that’s the case, you probably have a RIC hearing aid, which stands for “receiver-in-the-canal”.
Like BTEs, RICs have a plastic hearing aid body where the microphone and the processors are located. But unlike BTEs, the RICs speaker, or “receiver” in hearing aid terminology, sits in your ear canal. Because RICs have a wire instead of a clear tubing, please do not attempt to remove the receiver wire from the hearing aid, as they are most likely fixed with a pin. However, the instructions for cleaning the microphones and hearing aid body still apply to your RIC hearing aids.
ITE Hearing Aids
If your hearing aid doesn’t sit behind your ear at all, and instead the body of the hearing aid sits in the bowl of your ear, then you have some form of an ITE hearing aid. ITE stands for “in-the-ear”. Like the RICs, all of these in-the-ear hearing aids do not utilize any tubing.