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The New Miniature BTE Just a few short years ago, behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids were not the style of choice for those who require hearing aids. In fact, less than 20% 1 of people who wore hearing aids prior to 2000 chose the behind-the-ear style. Who could blame them? The old-style BTE’s were large, bulky and not very aesthetically pleasing. These issues enhanced the stigma that hearing loss is an oldperson’s ailment and a handicap. Technological advancements have improved the number of BTE wearers to more than 60%, 2 and with better, smaller choices, surveys indicate that more people with mild hearing losses are now benefiting from BTE hearing aids1. Along with a smaller case size, today’s behind-the-ear hearing aids are more stylish and functionally versatile. The first miniature BTE wasn’t much to look at with very few case color choices. Although it was smaller than its ancestors, it was very limited in terms of its offerings for user controls. In other words, it had very few “bells and whistles”. Though it was smaller, the functionality limited how the wearer could manipulate sound in the environment. As the number of manufacturers offering miniature BTE’s increased and the types

of technology and sound processing available in the hearing aids expanded, satisfaction with the BTE improved. In fact, overall satisfaction ratings are significantly higher (85% vs 76%) than traditional custom styles, even though there are no significant differences in perceived benefit or value1. With technological advancements, behind-the-ear hearing aids are an exceptional choice for nearly anyone, regardless of the degree or configuration of hearing loss. If you are experiencing hearing loss or currently wear hearing aids, talk to your audiologist about the new mini BTE to see if it is a good option for you. 1 Kochkin S: MarkeTrak VIII Mini-BTEs tap new market, usersmore satisfied. Hear J 2011:64(11):17-24 2 Kirkwood D: Resilient hearing aid industry records rising sales despite a troubled economy. Hear J 2009;62(12):11-16.

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