Staff Standpoint | March 2022 Hearing Review
Updated March 15, 2022
By Karl Strom, Editor
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.
- Sonic sells Tympany to Tympany Holdings LLC.
- IntriCon purchases Tibbetts.
- Cardinal Health purchases VIASYS (owner of GSI and Nicolet Biomedical).
- ON Semiconductor purchases AMI Semiconductor.
- Gennum purchased by Sound Design.
- 3M purchases Aearo
- 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.
- Siemens AG starts to shop its hearing aid division but does not receive $2.7 billion asking price.
- Sonova purchases InSound Medical (Lyric).
- AudioNova purchases Geers.
- WDH wins bidding process for Otix Global (Sonic and HearingLife), probably the 7th largest global hearing aid manufacturer at time.
- WDH purchases ListenUp!
- Amplifon purchases Auditon (Luxembourg) and NHC Group.
- Widex purchases Widex Hearing Aid Co (US distributor).
- 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.
- Westone purchased by CID Capital.
No major M&As in 2013.
- Sonova purchases Comfort Audio.
- Sophono and Nurotron (China) form SophonoTron.
- Siemens Audiology purchased by EQT and Strüngmann family, renamed Sivantos.
- IntriCon purchases PC Werth.
- GN Otometrics purchases Amplifon’s Biomedica.
- WDH purchases Audika.
- Sonova group integrates Hansaton.
- Medtronic purchases Sophono.
- Sivantos purchases audibene.
- IntriCon and ADA partner to form EarVenture
- AuditData purchases Otovation.
- Sonova purchases AudioNova (Europe’s 2nd largest HA retailer).
- GN purchases Audigy Group.
- Natus purchases GN Otometrics.
- IntriCon purchases Hearing Help Express.
- Cochlear Ltd purchases Sycle.
- Google Ventures invests in Decibel Therapeutics.
- ESCO purchases Midwest Hearing Industries.
- Auditdata purchases Simply Hearing Software.
- Energizer purchases Rayovac (Spectrum Brands Batteries).
- Marcon and AuDNet merge to form AUDNET.
- Sivantos purchases TruHearing.
- Lucid Technologies purchases Etymotic Research.
- Amplifon purchases GAES.
- Sivantos and Widex announce plans to merge to form WS Audiology.
- Westone purchases Custom Protect Ear.
- Alpaca Audiology merges with Belsono.
- Listen Technologies Acquires AudioConexus.
- Bose Ventures invests in hearX (incl Lexie).
- Demant launches EPOS.
- Tremetrics purchases Monitor Instruments.
- Demant purchases Audioscan.
- AuDStandard acquires Paradigm Growth 360, forms HearWorks.
- Intricon purchases Emerald Medical Services (EMS).
- Listen Technologies purchases ExXothermic Inc.
- Lucid Audio purchases Westone Audio.
- Eargo announces IPO listing on NASDAQ.
- Amplifon purchases Bay Audio (Australia).
- Sonova purchases Sennheiser Consumer Division.
- Sonova AC AU purchases Neurosensory.
- WSA purchases AuralCare/My Hearing Centers
- Consult YHN and EarQ merge to create CQ Partners.
- GN Hearing purchases Lively.
- WSA buys into Chinese online retailer Longkang.
- WSA purchases Koalys
- GN purchases SteelSeries.
- HearingLife [Demant] purchases APG Group.
2022 (through January).
- Sonova purchases Alpaca.
- WSA purchases Audibel Aparelhos Auditivos (Brazil).
- Intricon purchased by Altaris.
Citation for this article: Strom K. Hearing care M&As heat up again. Hearing Review. 2022;29(3):6.