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Best Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids

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If you’ve noticed that hearing is more difficult than it used to be, it may be time for hearing aids. One of the most popular styles, behind-the-ear (BTE), is suitable for a wide range of hearing losses. You can find BTE hearing aids at nearly any price point, making them an accessible choice for seniors of most income levels. Below, we’ll take a look at the best behind-the-ear hearing aids along with more information about choosing the right style for your hearing needs.

  • 1. Jabra Enhance

    Overview

    All three of Jabra Enhance’s BTE hearing aid models offer direct Bluetooth streaming to compatible Apple and Android devices. Stream music, videos, audiobooks, calls, and more from your phone right to your hearing aids, even with the Enhance Select 50, the brand’s lowest-tier and only battery-powered model.

    The Enhance Select 200, the premium rechargeable offering, goes a step further with hands-free calling for iPhone 11 and newer models. That means you’ll not only hear the call in your hearing aids, but you can speak to the caller through your hearing aids too. Jabra Enhance also sells a Phone Clip+ accessory for hands-free calling on other phone and hearing aid models.

    Ease of use Equipment Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Rechargeable and battery-powered models
    • 100-day risk-free trial
    • Three-year warranty
    • High-tech accessories
    • Bluetooth streaming with all models
    • Mobile app for easy adjustments
    • Variety of colors offered
    Cons
    • Not for severe or profound hearing loss
    • Small product lineup
    • Direct streaming is only available with select Android devices

    Pricing

    You can get a pair of Jabra Enhance hearing aids for less than $2,000 per pair. There’s the Enhance Select 50 for $1,195 per pair, the Enhance Select 100 for $1,595 per pair, and the Enhance Select 200 for $1,995 per pair. This puts Jabra Enhance, previously known as Lively, in the middle between premium in-office brands like Signia and budget online-only brands like Otofonix. A Jabra Enhance hearing aid purchase also includes three-year loss and damage protection and warranty, three years of follow-up care, and a free mobile app. Financing is available.

    The Bottom Line

    If you’re a smartphone user, Jabra Enhance’s lineup of BTE hearing aids may be just what you’re looking for. Enjoy better speech clarity and noise reduction along with streaming phone audio right to your hearing aids. Affordable accessories like the TV Streamer and Phone Clip+ let you connect to other Bluetooth devices too. Take a look at our hands-on experience with Jabra Enhance to learn more.

    Did You Know: Jabra Enhance made our 2022 best hearing aids list.

  • 2. MDHearing

    Overview

    MDHearing offers a variety of BTE and in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids to meet most seniors’ needs. Their line includes a discreet ITE model, a rechargeable water-resistant model with some advanced features, and a more advanced smart model that connects to a mobile app for sound mapping and wireless control. Plus, all three rechargeable models are available to purchase as singles or pairs, something you won’t find from many other providers.

    If the variety seems overwhelming, don’t fret! MDHearing’s customer service team can help you make purchasing decisions via phone, email, or online chat. Once you become a customer, you get access to free lifetime support from licensed hearing professionals.

    Ease of use Equipment Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Excellent Above Average Above Average Above Average
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Affordable prices
    • Two different BTE models available
    • 45-day risk-free trial
    • Smartphone-compatible option
    • Battery-powered and rechargeable available
    • Buy in singles or pairs
    • Lifetime support from audiologists and hearing specialists
    Cons
    • No direct Bluetooth streaming
    • Only available in beige
    • Not suitable for severe to profound hearing loss

    Pricing

    MDHearing’s affordable prices are budget-friendly. The NEO pair costs $999.98, the VOLT pair costs $1,199.99, and the VOLT MAX pair costs $1,899.98. On sale, you can find them for 50 percent off or more. MDHearing may not provide the same level of features and support as custom hearing aids, but they’re a great choice for older adults on a budget.

    The Bottom Line

    We love that MDHearing offers a variety of BTE hearing aids. Older adults can easily find an MDHearing device that fits their needs and budget. You may not get advanced features like Bluetooth streaming, but you do get the features you need at an affordable price. Read more about MDHearing’s offerings in our most recent MDHearing review.

  • 3. Lexie

    Overview

    Lexie makes the selection process easy by providing one simple BTE and two receiver-in-canal (RIC) solutions. Lexie Lumen is a no-frills battery-powered BTE hearing aid. The only choice you’ll need to make is which color you want! Lumen is available in beige, black, light gray, bronze, and silver.

    Thanks to a smart algorithm and a hearing test within the Lexie app, the Lumen is customized according to your hearing profile. Directional microphones amplify the voices and sounds you want to hear while reducing the background sounds that you don’t want to hear. The result is clearer, more natural hearing.

    Ease of use Equipment Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Above Average Excellent Excellent Excellent
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Affordable price
    • Simple selection
    • Variety of colors available
    • Sweatproof technology
    • 45-day risk-free trial
    • Unlimited real-time video or voice support from a Lexie expert
    • Unlimited real-time video or voice support from a Lexie expert Six hearing environments
    Cons
    • No direct Bluetooth streaming
    • No custom fitting

    Pricing

    The Lexie Lumen hearing aid costs $799 per pair upfront. Lexie also offers a subscription, which is $42 per month for 24 months, plus a one-time $149 start-up fee. Regular Care Kit packages, which contain additional accessories and batteries, are included. You can cancel the subscription at any time by returning the hearing aids. If you opt for one of Lexie’s two RIC models, prices range from $849 to $999 per pair or $47 to $49 per month for 24 months.

    The Bottom Line

    Lexie makes choosing a BTE hearing aid as easy as possible by offering one battery-powered BTE hearing aid. It isn’t the most high-tech hearing aid on the market, but it offers a great mix of features for the price. Plus, you can’t beat the convenience of testing your hearing, setting up your hearing aids, and making adjustments all from the Lexie app. Check out our hands-on review of Lexie hearing aids for more details.

  • 4. Otofonix

    Overview

    More than 1 in 4 seniors don’t get hearing aids because of the cost. Otofonix, which was co-founded by a retired ENT doctor, wants to remove cost as an obstacle. This company keeps costs down by selling directly to consumers online. Whether you want battery-powered or rechargeable, traditional or app-controlled, Otofonix has an option for you. Otofonix is one of the industry’s most affordable providers, and the company frequently runs promotions to help you save even more.

    Ease of use Equipment Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Average Average Average Average
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Affordable prices
    • 45-day trial period
    • Background noise suppression
    • Background noise suppression
    • Lifetime free phone support
    • Free two-day shipping
    • Discreet design
    • Rechargeable and battery-powered options
    Cons
    • No options for severe-to-profound hearing loss
    • No color choices

    Pricing

    Prices for Otofonix hearing aids range from $790 to $1,590 per pair. However, it’s unlikely you’ll have to pay that much. Otofonix hosts frequent sales and promotions that cut costs by at least 50 percent. You do get what you pay for, though, so don’t expect high-tech features like Bluetooth streaming.

    The Bottom Line

    Otofonix hearing aids may not have the latest technology and features, but they’re a great option for older adults with a limited budget. In our Otofonix review, we discovered that this brand is best for those with mild to moderate hearing loss and don’t spend a lot of time in busy environments, such as offices or restaurants. Otofonix is also a low-cost way to dip your toes into the hearing aid world before committing to a pricier, higher-tech device.

    Did You Know: Of those aged 70+ who could benefit from hearing aids, only 30 percent have ever used them.1 Companies like Otofonix and MDHearing make affordable hearing aids to remove a common barrier — cost — that keeps seniors from getting the hearing help they need.

  • 5. Signia

    Overview

    Signia offers innovative hearing solutions for all levels of hearing loss, including some premium BTE hearing aid options. Signia’s Motion X line of BTE hearing aids delivers 61 hours of power on a single charge, direct audio streaming from iOS devices, and enhanced speech recognition. Plus, it features signature acoustic-motion sensor technology so that you can hear better while you’re moving, which is great for older adults who love to walk, run, bike, golf, and stay active! Choose from a variety of colors to match your skin tone or hair color.

    Ease of use Equipment Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Above Average Excellent Above Average Excellent
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Several BTE models to choose from
    • Integrated tinnitus therapy
    • Fast charging
    • Professionally fitted and programmed
    • Bluetooth streaming to iOS
    • Wireless accessories
    • Remote app control
    • Solutions for all levels of hearing loss
    Cons
    • On the pricier side
    • Requires an in-office visit

    Pricing

    Signia doesn’t disclose its prices online. Instead, you’ll need to visit a hearing care professional. They can assess your hearing needs, suggest the Signia hearing aid that may work for you, and share pricing information. Generally, prescription hearing aids like these are more expensive than online providers like Eargo or MDHearing.

    The Bottom Line

    If you’re in the market for an advanced BTE hearing aid with all the bells and whistles, you can’t go wrong with Signia. Their BTE hearing aids are comfortable, easy to use, and packed with advanced features like noise cancellation and automatic situation detection. The Signia smartphone app lets you make adjustments and access tinnitus management features from your phone. See what else we love about Signia in this year’s Signia hearing aid review.

  • 6. ReSound

    Overview

    ReSound brings to the table nearly 80 years of experience manufacturing hearing solutions. Their current line of products includes some of the most advanced rechargeable BTE hearing aids on the market: the ReSound LiNX Quattro, Resound ONE, ReSound ENZO Q, and ReSound Key.

    The LiNX Quattro, ReSound’s premium collection, delivers a rich sound, Bluetooth streaming, and an impressive battery life. Enjoy up to 30 hours of use on a single charge. And charging on the go couldn’t be easier! The portable charging case holds three full charges, and it takes only one hour of charging to get 16 hours of battery life. It’s a great solution for older adults who spend time off the grid or have trouble remembering to charge their devices.

    Ease of use Equipment Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Above Average Above Average Above Average Above Average
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Multiple BTE options available
    • Clear, natural sound quality
    • Thin tube or personalized ear mold
    • Reliable, long-lasting battery life
    • Direct streaming to iOS and Android devices
    • Solutions for severe and profound hearing loss
    • Remote care option
    • 15+ color options
    Cons
    • On the pricier side
    • In-office visit required

    Pricing

    If you’re interested in ReSound hearing aids, expect to pay between $1,000 to $3,500 per hearing aid. ReSound’s products come at premium prices, but the customization, technology, and support you receive more than justify the cost. Exact prices vary by location and provider, so you’ll need to visit a hearing professional for more details.

    The Bottom Line

    ReSound is known for its innovation, quality, and value. They offer rechargeable BTE hearing solutions for all levels of hearing loss that deliver a full day’s charge and then some. You also get the added benefit of ReSounds’s smartphone apps, which let you make remote adjustments and manage your tinnitus. Just be prepared to pay more than you would for other brands.

    To learn more about ReSound’s hearing aids and apps, check out our most recent ReSound review.

How We Chose the Best BTE Hearing Aids

Choosing the right pair of hearing aids is an important decision, as they’re something you’ll wear every single day. We narrowed down the search by comparing popular BTE hearing aids side by side and evaluating them based on several criteria. We considered factors like comfort, affordability, size, performance, and cost.

 

What Are BTE Hearing Aids?

As you might’ve guessed, BTE hearing aids sit behind your ears. More specifically, the electrical components housed inside a case sit on your outer ear. This includes the speaker, microphone, amplifier, battery, and other features like a telecoil. A small tube (also called an ear hook) connects the hearing aid to a dome or earmold that sits in your ear canal. The tube delivers sound into your ear.

BTE hearing aids provide the best amplification, so they work great for people of all ages who have mild, moderate, severe, or profound hearing loss. They’re also larger than other styles of hearing aids, so there’s more room for electrical components. That’s why many BTE hearing aids offer advanced features like Bluetooth streaming. Most BTE hearing aids feature control buttons directly on the case for easy volume or programming adjustments. We’d recommend BTE hearing aids for:

  • Seniors with severe to profound hearing loss
  • Those with dexterity problems who would benefit from a larger device
  • Older adults with caregivers, as they’re easier for caregivers to assist with
  • Individuals who produce a lot of earwax

What We Like About BTE Hearing Aids

  • Available with personalized ear molds
  • Provide the most amplification
  • Easy to put on, take off, and clean
  • On-device controls for simple volume adjustment
  • Not as susceptible to earwax buildup as other styles
  • More comfortable, as they don’t sit deep in the ear canal
  • Tend to have longer battery life than other styles

Things to Keep in Mind About BTE Hearing Aids

  • May be awkward to use while on the phone; selecting a model with Bluetooth streaming can alleviate this concern
  • More sensitive to wind than other styles
  • Share earspace with glasses, sunglasses, and masks, which may be bothersome to some seniors
  • Not as discreet as other styles

 

BTE vs. ITE Hearing Aids

There are two main types of hearing aids: BTE and in the ear (ITE). Understanding the difference between the two can help you decide what may work best for your situation.

What Are ITE Hearing Aids?

ITE aids sit fully in your ear without taking up any space on or behind your ear. For that reason, an ITE hearing aid is more comfortable if you wear glasses or frequently wear a face mask. You can use a phone more naturally and wear over-ear headphones too.

Compared to BTE models, ITE hearing aids are more discreet. Most are custom fit to your ear canal for a snug, comfortable fit. They’re even available in a variety of skin tones to blend in with your ear.

Since they must sit in your ear, ITE hearing aids have limited space. They don’t have room for all of the features you may find with BTE hearing aids, such as Bluetooth connectivity or large, long-lasting batteries. Some older adults might have trouble handling them due to their small size.

Comparing Hearing Aid Styles

BTE ITE
Type of hearing loss For mild to profound hearing loss For mild to severe hearing loss
Size Bigger; can be clunky Small; often custom fit
Visibility Slightly visible Nearly invisible
Durability Tend to last longer More susceptible to earwax damage
Battery life Can accommodate larger, longer-lasting batteries Less reliable; batteries need to be charged or replaced more frequently
Amplification Better amplification Less powerful
Features Space for more electrical components and features, such as Bluetooth Limited features

Frequently Asked Questions About BTE Hearing Aids

  • Are BTE hearing aids better than ITE?

    BTE and ITE hearing aids both have advantages and disadvantages. In general, BTE hearing aids are suitable for a wider range of hearing loss than ITE hearing aids.

  • How do you keep BTE hearing aids in place?

    When fitted properly, BTE hearing aids stay in place all on their own. Just take care as you put on and remove face masks, glasses, or sunglasses so as not to pull or bump the hearing aids off of your ears.

  • How do you wear BTE hearing aids with a mask?

    When wearing BTE hearing aids with a mask, it’s important to be careful as you put on and remove the mask to avoid pulling off your hearing aids. Some hearing aid users choose to wear masks that tie behind the head, or they secure their masks to headbands or ear-savers.

  • What is a mini BTE hearing aid?

    Mini BTE hearing aids are the smallest style of BTE hearing aids. They are smaller, more discreet, and often lighter than standard BTE hearing aids.

Written By

Jeff Hoyt

Editor in Chief

Since graduating from Harvard with an honors degree in Statistics, Jeff has been creating content in print, online, and on television. Much of his work has been dedicated to informing seniors on how to live better lives. As Editor-in-Chief of the personal… Learn More About Jeff Hoyt

Citations
  1. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. (2021). Quick Statistics About Hearing