Hearing aid sales rise 5% in first quarter

WASHINGTON, DC--U.S. hearing aid sales increased by 5.0% during the first three months of 2011 over the same period last year, according to data collected from manufacturers by the Hearing Industries Association.

The fastest growth was in sales to the Department of Veterans Affairs, which rose by 7.6% over 2010. The 135,725 instruments purchased by the VA represented 19.7% of the total domestic market. However, sales to the non-governmental sector also posted a significant year-to-year gain of 4.4%.

Behind-the-ear models further increased their market dominance, accounting for a record-high 70.0% of the 687,604 units sold by manufacturers in the quarter.