What’s in a brand name? Plenty, if you’re in the hearing health care profession. Many of us have wondered for a long time, why are there dozens of hearing device brands in a profession where only six major manufacturers supplying more than 80% of the global hearing aid market?
Most professionals are keenly aware each of these major manufacturers sells their hearing devices under multiple brand names. Just as Buick, Pontiac, Chevy and GMC are all separate brands owned and manufactured by General Motors, Sonova, to use one example, distributes its hearing devices under the Phonak, Unitron, Lyric, Advanced Bionics, Hansaton and other private-label hearing aid brand names. And, as with the automobile companies, many of the hearing aid brands share common platform technologies, components and sound processing software, supplied by their parent company.
Even some hearing industry professionals are surprised at the sheer number of brands that have cropped up over the years.
In addition to the brands sold by the six largest hearing aid manufacturers, there are several dozen other independent companies. (And those are just suppliers of FDA-approved hearing aids — the list of over-the-counter personal sound amplifiers and other hearing-related products is growing even faster).
Moreover, the list is constantly changing. For example, a few weeks ago we confirmed that Costco’s Kirkland Signature Brand hearing aids, previously manufactured by GN ReSound, are now being manufactured and supplied by Sivantos (Signia).
Mapping it Out
Thanks to our friends at Hearing Tracker, we now have an up-to-date industry map of today’s hearing aid brands — including those which are sold by independent audiologists and those sold through retail chains and Big-box stores like Costco.
Notice on the Hearing Tracker map (last updated April 2018) that both retail and wholesale brands are represented– click on the map below to enlarge.
Let us know what you think of the map, and if you hear of any changes that should prompt an update, be sure to let us or the folks at Hearing Tracker know.