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Mini Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aid Guide

calendar-icon Last Updated on 4 February 2020 clock-icon 11 Min Read
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Choosing a hearing aid can be confusing; with so many styles on the market, it can be difficult to tell which one is best for you.

In this guide, we’re looking at mini behind-the-ear hearing aids and some elements to consider while making your selection.

Key Points
  • Mini behind-the-ear hearing aids are smaller versions of regular behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids.
  • These hearing aids provide exceptional power but are more subtle than their larger counterparts.
  • Mini BTE hearing aids can provide some of the widest range of features in any hearing aid type.

What Are Mini Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids?

Mini behind-the-ear hearing aids, as their name suggests, are miniature versions of traditional behind-the-ear hearing aids.

Behind-the-ear hearing aids are the largest and most powerful version of hearing aids on the market. They also have some of the widest range of features, including enhanced directional capabilities, clear sound, and distortion reduction.

However, BTE hearing aids are also the largest you’ll find. They can be a bit uncomfortable and difficult to get used to.

As BTE hearing aids are larger, some people may feel self-conscious wearing them. There are plenty of smaller hearing aid options, some virtually invisible, but these often don’t deliver the power of behind-the-ear hearing aids.

Mini behind-the-ear hearing aids are a middle ground. They’re smaller, more comfortable to wear and hide behind your earlobe—meaning they’re less noticeable.

These hearing aids offer the reliability, functionality, and features that standard behind-the-ear hearing aids have, but are smaller. For this reason, people with severe to profound hearing loss often choose mini behind-the-ear hearing aids over their larger counterpart.

Pros and Cons

There are some benefits and disadvantages to using behind-the-ear hearing aids over some of the other common types. Ahead, we’ll take a look at the considerations you should make before selecting these as your preferred hearing aid type.

The Benefits of Mini Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids

Here is a break down of the most noteworthy benefits of mini behind-the-ear hearing aids.

Power

Enhanced power is the primary reason people choose mini behind-the-ear hearing aids or BTE hearing aids in general.

Many people prefer the discretion of invisible or completely-in-canal hearing aids. These are nearly impossible to see from the outside, but they also don’t deliver enough power to fit the needs of those with severe hearing loss.

Behind-the-ear hearing aids are the most powerful on the market, and the miniature versions don’t tend to compromise too much on that power. You can receive a similar level of hearing assistance in a smaller case.

Control and Features

As is the case with power, BTE and mini behind-the-ear hearing aids provide some of the best control you’ll find. Volume and hearing settings are easy to adjust because the hearing aid sits on the outside of your ear.

Most hearing aid brands provide easy-to-use apps that let you control your hearing aids from your phone. Even in this category, though, BTE and mini behind-the-ear hearing aids stand out from the pack.

These hearing aids offer the highest level of features, which includes streaming calls and audio to your hearing aids. Many will even allow you to set your preferences for particular situations like a noisy restaurant or a meeting, so the sound automatically adjusts.

Reliability

Behind-the-ear hearing aids tend to be the most reliable hearing aids out there. They are well-crafted and durable, with several failsafes to make sure microphones and other features don’t let you down.

Hearing aid components that sit inside your ear can get worn or damaged from wax and moisture. However, with a BTE or mini-BTE, the most important part of the hearing aid sits outside of your ear. This provides more durability than completely-in-ear options like invisible hearing aids.

Additionally—although mini BTE hearing aids have a smaller battery than regular BTE hearing aids—the battery life is much longer with mini behind-the-ear hearing aids than with other products.

The bigger the battery, the longer it will last. Mini behind-the-ear hearing aids are large enough to contain powerful rechargeable batteries that can reliably last all day long.

Directionality

One of the downsides of smaller hearing aids is that they may not have directional microphones. The units are small, so it’s harder to include multiple microphones that allow you to tell where the sounds are coming from.

The directionality on mini BTE hearing aids isn’t as effective as it is with full BTE options, but it’s still there. We tend to take directionality for granted until we find hearing aids that don’t have this feature. Directionality is huge when it comes to “natural” sound, and mini BTE hearing aids have this.

The Drawbacks of Mini Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids

Of course, there are some negatives with mini behind-the-ear hearing aids.

Not the smallest option

Although mini BTE hearing aids are smaller than regular BTE hearing aids, they are far from the least noticeable on the market. They are still visible when worn, which may make some users uncomfortable.

Still, if you have severe hearing loss, the smallest and least noticeable hearing aids just don’t provide enough power. Mini BTE hearing aids are a good option in terms of smaller size and more power.

Lack of Power Compared to BTE

Regular BTE hearing aids are the most powerful on the market. They have the best directional capabilities, the longest-lasting batteries, and the widest range of features.

Compromising on size reduces some of this power and wealth of features. You’re making a trade of sorts. Your hearing aids will feel more comfortable and natural, but they won’t have the same level of power as larger BTE models.

You’ll have to decide for yourself whether or not this trade is worth it to you.

Price

The price of mini behind-the-ear hearing aids vary depending on the manufacturer you choose. They fall towards the middle of the pack, however, and offer a good value for a lot of people with more severe hearing loss.

Unlike some of the smaller models, mini behind-the-ear hearing aids don’t require a custom fit for your ear, which can be very expensive.

Mini behind-the-ear hearing aids often tend to be about the same price as full BTE hearing aids. They don’t offer quite as much directionality or as many features, but they are smaller and comfortable to wear.

Some companies charge more for mini BTE hearing aids than traditional BTEs, and some will charge less—it depends on the manufacturer.

Popular Brands and Reviews

Starkey

Starkey is a global leader in hearing aid production, and have several top-of-the-line models for mini behind-the-ear hearing aids.

Their Livio, Muse and Z-Series hearing aids have features like improved high-frequency sounds, an enhanced ability to distinguish speech, long battery life, distortion reduction, and much more.

Widex

Widex is another industry leader in hearing aid technology. They have the world’s first smart hearing aid in the Evoke, which learns from your preferences and environment to adapt on the go.

This model, along with several others, is available in the mini behind-the-ear style.

ReSound

ReSound provides several mini behind-the-ear hearing aids with some noteworthy technologies, like 3D listening with enhanced directional microphones in both the BTE and mini BTE styles.

ReSound also has some of the most immersive hearing apps on the market, which makes them a strong contender when picking a hearing aid brand.

Accessories

There are several accessories available for mini behind-the-ear hearing aids, depending on the provider you select. You can find things like microphones for one-on-one conversations, phone transmitters, devices that stream audio from your television, and a wide range of apps.

Mini BTE hearing aids have some of the widest range of accessories of any type of hearing aid since the technology within them is often advanced.

Should You Choose Mini Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids?

Whether or not you choose mini behind-the-ear hearing aids depends on your lifestyle and personal preferences. Do you need powerful hearing aids with a smaller size? Then mini behind-the-ear hearing aids are for you.

If you don’t care about size and just want the most power, you could be better off with traditional behind-the-ear hearing aids. Those who prioritise size above all and only have moderate or mild hearing loss can pick one of the smaller models.


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