Sonova to buy Hansaton, and two hearing aid retailers; also plans cost-cutting steps

      STÄFA, SWITZERLAND—Sonova Holding AG, the world’s largest hearing aid manufacturer, announced today (March 2) that it will acquire three German hearing aid companies: Hansaton Akustik GmBH, which is a family-run hearing aid wholesaler, and two retail chains, Vitakustik GmbH and Fiebing Hörtechnik GmbH. The purchase prices were not disclosed.     Sonova,…

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William Demant and ReSound reach agreements with major hearing aid retailers

    By David H. Kirkwood COPENHAGEN–Two of the hearing aid industry’s Big Six companies–William Demant, parent company of Oticon, and GN ReSound—are taking steps to strengthen their retail distribution channels. Demant announced yesterday (February 17) that it is negotiating to buy a majority interest in Audika Groupe, the largest network of hearing aid centers…

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Bernstein Research is bullish on ReSound; sees it gaining on Sonova and Demant

By David H. Kirkwood LONDON–Bernstein Research, a leading analyst of the hearing aid industry, sees continued growth and higher stock prices in 2015 and beyond for GN Store Nord (GN), parent company of ReSound. However, as the title of its latest report, Hearing Aids: A Review of the Major Sector Trends Going into 2015. Still…

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Readers’ Choice 2014: Phonak and Costco team up

Dear Readers: During this holiday season, the editors at Hearing Health & Technology Matters (HHTM) are taking some time off. However, we are not leaving you without anything to read on our blog this week. Instead, we are publishing a special holiday edition filled with what we call our Readers’ Choices. HHTM has had more…

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A rising IntriCon will provide hearing aids to the UK’s National Health Service

By David H. Kirkwood ARDEN HILLS, MN—Hearing care providers are familiar with the world’s “Big Six” hearing aid manufacturers, or at least their flagship brands. That’s only natural, as together Sonova, William Demant, GN Store Nord, Siemens, Starkey, and Widex account for over 90% of the devices sold in the U.S. and Western Europe. However,…

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Siemens to sell hearing aid division; $2.67 billion deal is industry’s biggest ever

This updated version of the post published on November 7 includes additional comments about the sale of Siemens from an informed source whom I interviewed this week. My informant asked not to be named because he was not authorized by his company to speak for publication.  David H. Kirkwood, Editor, Hearing News Watch   MUNICH,…

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VA awards contracts to all “Big Six” hearing aid manufacturers

By David H. Kirkwood  DENVER–The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which is far and away America’s largest purchaser of hearing aids, has awarded contracts, effective November 1, to buy products from the U.S. divisions of all six of the world’s largest hearing aid manufacturers. Although the contracts with GN ReSound, Oticon Inc., Phonak LLC, Siemens Hearing Instruments,…

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Starkey owner Bill Austin is a billionaire, says Bloomberg News

  EDEN PRAIRIE, MN–It’s official, says Bloomberg News: William F. “Bill” Austin, founder, CEO, and sole owner of Starkey Hearing Technologies, is a billionaire. That statement didn’t surprise people in the hearing industry, who are well aware that Austin’s company has long been by far the largest American hearing aid manufacturer, and ranks among the…

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Sonova to add Comfort Audio to its group

STÄFA, SWITZERLAND–Sonova Holding AG announced today (June 16) that it had reached an agreement to purchase 100% of Comfort Audio, a Swedish maker and distributor of assistive listening technology. The transaction, which will require approval by regulatory agencies, is a further step in the diversification of Sonova, parent company of Phonak and the world’s largest…

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Analyst says Phonak decision on Costco is “probably right” despite “short-term pain

By David H. Kirkwood LONDON–Since this blog first reported that Phonak LLC would start selling Brio, a new premium hearing aid model, through Costco, we have received and published dozens of comments on the issue. Many came from independent practitioners who dispense Phonak hearing aids. They expressed outrage over having to compete with a “big box”…

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