Many people view hearing aids as a one-size-fits-all product. The reality couldn't be further from this, though, with loads of different hearing aid styles and types available on the market. Behind-the-ear (BTE) and in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids are two of the most popular hearing aid styles found on the market, and these hearing aids can be very different. Let's compare these two styles to give you an idea of how they differ.


It's always a good idea to think about the shape of a hearing aid style before you decide to commit to it. BTE and ITE hearing aids are very different in their form, giving them advantages and disadvantages over one another. But how are they different?

BTE Hearing Aids

Behind-the-ear hearing aids are larger than most, with a piece that fits behind the ear and a piece that sides within the ear. A thin clear tube will usually connect these two pieces, making the device more visible than other types of hearing aid.

ITE Hearing Aids

Much smaller than BTE hearing aids, ITE hearing aids sit inside the ear itself. Hearing aids like this are small and often come in skin tones, making them harder to see from the outside. A custom mold will usually be made to ensure that hearing aids like this perfectly fit your ear.

The Benefits of BTE

As mentioned above, hearing aids always have their own benefits that will make them better for some users than others. Let's take a look at some of the benefits of behind-the-ear style hearing aids to give you a head start.

  • Battery life: Thanks to their larger size, BTE hearing aids can fit larger batteries inside, giving them greater battery life than many of the smaller hearing aids you find on the market.
  • Ease of use: Alongside battery life, larger hearing aids tend to be easier to use. Their controls are larger, giving those with conditions like arthritis the ability to control their hearing aid properly.
  • Comfort: Moving the bulk of the weight of your hearing aid to the back of your ear can reduce fatigue when using this type of device, making BTE hearing aids ideal for those who need to use them all the time.
  • Advanced features: Again, thanks to the size of BTE hearing aids, this type of device will usually pack far more features than hearing aids that are smaller. 

The Benefits of ITE

ITE hearing aids also come with plenty of benefits. You can find some examples of these below, though it's worth talking to a hearing health professional to understand the differences between these devices fully.

  • Very discreet: Their small size and skin tone coloring make ITE hearing aids far more discreet than BTE options.
  • Light and small: While they may not have large batteries inside, ITE hearing aids are small and light. This makes them ideal for casual users.
  • Custom-fit: Your hearing health professional will take an impression from your ear to create a hearing aid like this, making it comfortable and easy to forget while you're using it.

As you can see, these two types of hearing aid have a lot of differences. People often neglect the research required when choosing a device like a hearing aid, but it's always worth taking the time to learn as much as you can.