ALEXANDRIA, Va—According to statistics generated by the Hearing Industries Association (HIA) net hearing instrument unit sales increased by 3.47% to 1.22 million units during the first half of 2007 compared to sales of 1.18 million units in the first half of 2006. Private practice (non-VA) dispensing of hearing aid units increased by 2.20%, while the VA—which accounted for 13.9% of all hearing aids dispensed in the first half— increased by 12.10% at the midway point of the year. Total hearing aid sales during the first quarter were 1.06% over 2006 sales, and the second quarter was significantly better with a 5.87% increase over last year.

The private dispensing sector saw sales increases of 0.07% and 4.47% in Quarters 1 and 2 respectively, while the VA saw sales increase by 8.78% and 15.42%, respectively. In 2006, private sector hearing aid sales rose by 8.1%, while VA dispensing activity rose by 5.5%.

Digital sales accounted for 92.17% (private market: 90.98%, VA: 99.58%) of all hearing aids sold, up nominally from 91.7% for all of 2006.

At mid-year, BTEs constituted 50.18% of all hearing aid sales (private market: 52.02%, VA: 38.76%), driven largely by the popularity of mini-BTE open-fit and receiver-in-the-ear technology, as well as the increased use of directional systems and perhaps other hearing aid features that could favor BTE use.

A more detailed description of the HIA market statistics will appear in this week’s HR Insider (available Thursday, July 26). To sign up for the HR Insider, click here.