Staff Standpoint | March 2022 Hearing Review

Updated March 15, 2022

By Karl Strom, Editor

Karl Strom

As I was preparing my annual report on US hearing aid sales (see p 20), it was hard not to become increasingly optimistic about 2022; one tip-off was the number of mergers-and-acquisitions (M&As). Not only did 2021 total unit sales increase by 37% as we move out of the worst of the pandemic, but sales also increased by 12% over 2019. Another telltale sign of market recovery is the number of major merger and acquisition (M&A) announcements last year, and I believe this will continue into 2022.

Below are some of the most significant M&As in the industry from 1994 to present. I’ve also included a snapshot from my patented Merge-o-Meter (above), an advanced analytic tool (cough!) that summarizes the disparately sampled M&A data below into one fun but mostly-useless graphic. In the figure, the blue bars represent years when there were 4 or fewer significant M&As, orange bars 5-7, and red bars 8 or more. I admit that the Mergo-o-Meter is not infallible, but it might allow you to quickly identify general trends and more intense periods of M&A activity.  

For a good discussion of what M&As might mean for hearing care professionals, see Dr Robert Traynor’s article “Survival Strategies in a Competitive Hearing Care Market” in the June 2018 Hearing Review.


  • Siemens purchases Rexton Danplex
  • Phonak becomes a public company.


  • Oticon acquires Maico, Bernafon, Phox, and Ascom Star
  • Cabot Safety purchases Eastern Safety.
  • William Demant Holding (WDH) becomes public company.


  • ReSound purchases 3M Hearing Health.
  • Cabot Safety purchases Peltor.


  • Phonak purchases E Stephensen AS (Norway).
  • Philips purchases Antwerp Bionic Systems (LAURA).
  • WDH purchases Phonic Ear.


  • A&M Ltd (UK) purchases Electone.
  • Telex and Philips announce a strategic partnership.


  • Starkey purchases Qualitone.
  • Amplifon purchases Viennatone from ReSound.
  • GN purchases ReSound to become GN ReSound.
  • Beltone purchases Philips Electronics’ hearing aid division.
  • Audio ‘D’ purchases Finetone.
  • Maico purchases American Electromedics.
  • Siemens Hearing Instruments purchases A&M and Electone.
  • Amplifon purchases Dahlberg/Miracle Ear.
  • Doughty Hanson purchases Knowles Electronics.
  • Unitron and Lori Medical merge to form Lori/Unitron.
  • GN ReSound purchases Danplex A/S.
  • Maico Diagnostics purchases Beltone Audiometer Div.


  • WDH purchases Dahlberg Canada & Hidden Hearing.
  • Lori/Unitron purchases Argosy Electronics.
  • Starkey Laboratories purchases Micro-Tech.
  • Sonic files for IPO.
  • GN purchases Beltone.
  • Phonak purchases the Lori/Unitron/Argosy Group.
  • WDH purchases AVADA.


  • GN purchases ICS Medical.
  • Amplifon announces IPO on Italian stock exchange.
  • Phonak purchases Hansaton.
  • Madsen, Danplex, Hortmann, and ICS become GN Otometrics.
  • Hearx and Helix announce merger with funding from Siemens.
  • Quest Technologies integrates Metrosonics Inc.
  • WDH becomes minority owner of AHAA.
  • GN purchases 25% of Ultravox Holdings in UK (Ultratone/Sietech).
  • GN purchases Dana Japan.
  • Interton purchases Authorized Hearing Systems (AHS).


  • WDH purchases Tremetrics.
  • Phonak purchases Telex CROS technology.
  • Plantronics purchases Ameriphone.
  • Gennum & DSP Factory form strategic merger.
  • Amplifon purchases Sonus (1300 offices).
  • Sonic acquires Sentech and Orsonique.
  • Symphonix folds; Med-El purchases Soundbridge in 2003.


  • Amplifon purchases National Hearing Centers (54 offices).


  • Amplifon purchases Horen Nederland (The Netherlands).
  • Natus purchases Fischer-Zoth (OAE instruments).


  • Sonic purchases Tympany and forms Hearing Health Network.
  • Cochlear Corp purchases Entific (BAHA).
  • Dover Corp purchases Knowles Electronics.
  • Sonova purchases CAS.
  • Amplifon/Sonus purchases Sounds of Life and 22 HearUSA offices.
  • Amplifon purchases Axt-Wendton GmbH.
  • GN purchases Interton.


  • Sonova announces purchase of GN ReSound, but pulls out of deal in 2007 after being blocked by German anti-trust court (a ruling that was reversed in 2010).
  • Sonova purchases Island Hearing and Metro Hearing.
  • Sonova purchases Omerods (25%).
  • Widex purchases marjority interest in Otovation.
  • Amplifon purchases Ultravox from GN.
  • Natus purchases Bio-logic Systems.



  • Sonion purchased by Technitrol.
  • Natus purchases SonaMed.
  • Sonova purchases TRE SA (Luxembourg).


  • Altar Acquires Pulse (Sonion) from Technitrol.
  • Amplifon purchases Dialogue.
  • Sonova purchases Advanced Bionics (AB).
  • Sonova purchases Newport Audiology.
  • WDH purchases GSI.



  • HearUSA locks horns over payments to, and is eventually purchased by, Siemens.
  • IntriCon and UnitedHealth’s hi HealthInnovations form distribution agreement.
  • WDH purchases MedRx.
  • WDH purchases Northeastern Technologies Group, Mid-lantic Technologies Group, and Gordon N. Stowe and Associates.


No major M&As in 2013.









2022 (through January).

Citation for this article: Strom K. Hearing care M&As heat up again. Hearing Review. 2022;29(3):6.