Net unit sales of hearing aids in the first quarter of 2013 for the United States look a lot like those from the first quarter of 2012 (Figure 1), according to statistics compiled by the Hearing Industries Association (HIA), Washington, DC. A total of 724,853 hearing aid units were sold in Q1 2013, or 0.1% more (725 units) than during the same period last year. Private sector (commercial non-VA) sales fell by a half-percentage point (0.5%) while units dispensed by the Department of Veterans Affairs rose by 2.6% compared to Q1 2012.
|Quarterly net unit volume sales of hearing aids, 2007-2013. Unit sales in the first quarter were essentially the same (725 more units) than during the first quarter of 2012. Red represents VA units; blue represents private-sector unit sales.|
Last year’s first quarter sales were slightly better than average (a 5.3% gain compared to Q1 2011), and those gains were fueled primarily by private-sector sales. Thus, this year’s first quarter can probably be seen as “okay” or at least “business as usual.”
The trend of increased use of receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) and receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) aids continued. RIC/RITEs accounted for 49.0% of the market in Q1 2013 compared to 47.2% in Q4 2012. Traditional BTE use decreased only slightly from 24.3% to 24.0% during the same period. In all of 2012, RIC/RITE and traditional BTEs constituted 45.6% and 25.0% of the market, respectively.