An Update on Recent Hearing Device Activity

July 19, 2016

The U.S. private hearing aid market experienced a marked increase in June, as total hearing aid unit sales grew 13% compared to June, 2015. During that same period of time, the Veteran’s Administration system, which comprises about 20% of the total U.S. market saw their year-over-year unit sales decline 3%. This according to data published in the July 2016 AB Bernstein investor report.

The July, 2016 report also provided commentary on the current state of the U.S private hearing aid market. Some of the highlights:  GN generates just under 50% of their total hearing aid sales in the U.S. market, while Demant generates approximately 36% of its hearing aid revenues from the United States. For Sonova, the U.S. represents 34% of hearing aid sales. Amplifon, which directs the Miracle Ear franchise, generates 18% of their reported revenues from the U.S. market.

Much of the recent growth in the U.S private market is believed to be reaped by large corporate-owned retail chains, such as Costco – estimated to represent 11% of total U.S. hearing aid sales. All major hearing aid manufacturers also have a presence in chain retail with GN (Beltone) and Starkey (Audibel)  each having a significant presence in the U.S. retail market. Sonova and Demant-owned locations are estimated to comprise about 2% of the U.S private market, respectively.

marketshrFurther, according to AB Bernstein, the U.S. represents around 25% of Demant’s total owned retail footprint, and an estimated 20% of Sonova’s owned retail business. Currently, independent & small chains are believed to comprise just over half of the total US private market; a number that has substantially dwindled over the past several years.


Attempts to Disrupt Industry Continue


In other related news, in a story first reported by Audiology Worldnews, France’s Conseild’Etat (Council of State) approved the sale of over-the-counter PSAPs in pharmacies.  According to the article, the French Council reiterated that PSAPs are not “hearing aids” and that hearing aids can be dispensed only by hearing care professionals.

Unsurprisingly, the company manufacturing and supplying these PSAPs, the start-up Sonalto (Urgo Group), said they welcomed the decision. According to Sonalto co-founder Maxence Petit “Sonalto is very pleased with this announcement that allows our 5,000 partner pharmacies to continue enabling customers to try our hearing assistive devices free of charge and to supply them to the broadest possible public.”

Finally, in a June 17 Health Affairs Blog by Nicolas Terry, the present state of the hearing aid device industry and its potential for disruption from health apps and wearables was discussed at length. HHTM readers are encouraged to download and read the article by going here.


*Image courtesy rhodescomm

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