The impact of the coronavirus outbreak in China is increasingly being felt by the global economy. Beyond the human toll of the pneumonia-like disease, which has sadly sickened tens of thousands and claimed over 1,000 lives as of early February, 2020, the economic repercussions are now being felt by large and small businesses across the globe.
Travel restrictions, indefinite office and factory closures across the Wuhan region in China, are already posing significant challenges to global businesses of all sizes, many of which are now warning customers about possible negative effects on their supply chains.
Impact on Hearing Device Industry
Like many other global technology firms, the hearing device industry has already been impacted. On February 10, Cochlear Ltd announced a cut in its full year profit forecast.
“It has become clear that the coronavirus will impact the number of cochlear implant surgeries in Greater China, a top-five market for Cochlear”
–Dig Howitt, Cochlear CEO
According to the company, among the measures being taken to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, hospitals across China, Hong Kong and Taiwan have been deferring surgeries, including those for cochlear implants.
In the US, Phonak has recently informed its customers that “some parts and subassemblies required to build Phonak products are manufactured in the Sonova facility located in Suzhou, China. As a result, we are being proactive in monitoring the situation with regard to our supply chain and our valued employees at that facility.”
Hearing News Watch has also received reports of production delays at ReSound and other major manufacturers in the US, due to delays in receiving certain materials needed to make earmolds and other components.
In a request for comment on this story, Starkey’s Chris Hillman offered the following response:
Starkey manages a global end to end supply chain and manufacturing network with production in multiple countries around the world, including China. Our first priority is ensuring the health and safety of our employees. We have a global mitigation plan in motion to alleviate as much disruption as possible. To date, we have seen minimal impact on product delivery times. As we maintain our focus on providing our partners with the resources they need to serve their patients with better hearing, we wish to extend our sincere sympathies to those impacted by this virus.
–Chris Hillman, COO, Starkey Hearing Technologies
**Hearing News Watch will continue monitoring this developing story and provide further updates as they become available.