Wearing a standard Behind the Ear (BTE) hearing aid is not a possibility for atresia patients as a) there is no canal for the amplified sound to travel through and b) there is usually no ear to hang the device on.
However, a BTE hearing aid may be an option for some patients i.e. patients with stenosis (a narrow canal) or patients who have had Atresia Repair and could still benefit from amplification.
BTE hearing aids rely on air conduction. They work on the principle that sound waves move through the ear canal and strike the ear drum, causing the ear bones to move, which then causes the fluid in the cochlea to move the hair cells and send signals to the brain.
A behind the ear hearing aid has a microphone, amplifier and receiver (speaker) in a small banan-shaped case. Sound is detected with the microphone and amplified. The amplified sound goes through the receiver (the speaker). The sound is directed into the ear canal via a tube which is usually attached to a custom ear mould.
Every hearing loss is different. An audiologist will help with the selection and programming of a hearing aid to best benefit each individual’s hearing loss.