Vancouver, Canada — According to a new report by iData Research, a majority of surveyed audiologists say that patients who chose Phonak, Starkey, and Oticon hearing aids indicated that quality and customer service were most important to their choice, while price and ease-of-use were more important for Siemens, Lyric, Unitron, and other brands.

"Over 78% of survey respondents who use Phonak, Starkey and Oticon hearing aids indicated that quality and customer service were top concerns," says Dr Kamran Zamanian, CEO of iData. "In contrast, price and ease-of-use were comparatively more important for consumers of Siemens, Lyric, Unitron, and others. In addition, the influence of different advertising media on a consumer’s purchase decision had a stark contrast between brands."

The report states that Phonak has gained market share in the retail and wholesale hearing-aid market with the acquisition of large group practices to broaden their U.S. distribution channels. In contrast, Siemens, in an effort to maintain its market share, has undertaken a strategy of price-reductions and formed a strategic alliance with retail giant Amplifon.

The United States hearing-aid and audiology device market was valued at over $5.7 billion in 2011. Technological advancements in cochlear implants, bone-anchored hearing aids and the introduction of wireless Bluetooth® capability from Starkey, GN Resound, and Cochlear America is expected to fuel this market to almost $8 billion in annual sales by 2018, according to the new report.

"Additionally, the cochlear implant and bone-anchored hearing-aid segments were the fastest-growing," says Dr Zamanian. "This is due to technological advancements in device size, sound quality and a historically low adoption rate, which is expected to increase with patient awareness campaigns. In addition, emerging bone-anchored hearing-aid competitors such as Sophono and Sonitus Medical are expected to drive down traditionally higher prices set by Cochlear America and Oticon."

SOURCE: iData Research