According to statistics generated by the Hearing Industries Assn (HIA), Washington, DC, hearing aid net unit sales in the United States increased by as much as 9.7% in the first 3 months of 2016 compared to the same period last year, with the private/commercial sector leading the way with a 10.8% increase. However, there are two new reporting members to this year’s HIA statistical survey—IntriCon Corp and Hansaton— which probably inflated slightly the reported unit volume gains. However, even accounting for this, the hearing aid market appears to be growing at an impressive clip, considering the base was an 11.3% increase in the first quarter of 2015.
Net units dispensed by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) increased by 5.3% in Q1, compared to a base of 11.3% in Q1 2015. The VA accounted for 20.0% of all the units dispensed in the United States in the first quarter.
Behind-the-ear hearing (BTE) hearing aids accounted for 80.7% of all units sold in the United States during Q1. As a subset of BTEs, receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) and receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) constituted 64.5% of total US sales. In 2015, BTEs represented 78.7% of the total market sales, while RICs/RITEs were 63.7% of the total market. Hearing aids containing one or more wireless features made up 87.0% of all the hearing aids dispensed, which is about the same as last year (87.5%), and may have been impacted slightly by the new reporting companies.
It should be noted that unit volume sales of some Big Box retail (eg, Costco) outlets are included in the private sector sales, so the unit increases reported here are not necessarily reflective of the typical traditional dispensing office. For more details, see “Hearing Aid Sales Increase by 7.2% in 2015 after Strong Q4 by Private Sector.”
Both of the new reporting members of HIA are long-time players in the hearing industry and maintain US headquarters in Minneapolis. IntriCon Corp, a US public company, develops and supplies components and manufactures hearing aids for many medical device firms and hearing aid distributors, including their joint partnership with the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) and EarVenture, United Healthcare’s Hi HealthInnovations, and PC Werth in England. Hansaton, a part of Hansaton Akustik GmbH, was founded in Germany in 1957 by Rudolf Fischer, and was purchased by Sonova in 2015. In more recent years, it has become known for its rechargeable hearing aid technology and its Surround SoundHD, Beat, and jamHD lines of hearing aids.