American hearing aid sales increase by 5.7% in Q1 2018


US sales figures hearing aids
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Private sector sales increased by 7.2% and sales were stagnant (-0.5%) at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), giving a total growth percentage of 5.7% for the first quarter of 2018 in the United States.

The US market is dominated by private sector sales; almost 800,000 hearing aids were despatched across January, February and March, an increase of 7.2% over the previous year. This growth comes on the back of a 7.3% increase in the final quarter of 2017, although the Hearing Review points out that growth was more ‘typical’ in the first three quarters of 2-4%.

The US hearing aid sales statistics are generated and issued by the Hearing Industries Association (HIA), based in Washington, DC and published by The Hearing Review. The American publication comments that it is difficult to analyse and understand how the traditional dispensing practices are performing compared to ‘big box’ retailers such as CostCo, although it is known that CostCo now account for 12% of the total US hearing aid market. Relatively new entrants to the market, such as IntriCon, who provide direct-to-consumer products have been growly rapidly. IntriCon reported a 30% increase in sales revenue in 2017.

Veterans Affairs, a government department, ensures military men and women have appropriate resources to address their healthcare needs, this includes benefits for hearing tests, examinations and hearing aids if eligibility requirements are met. Unit sales to the VA have seen relatively steady growth over recent years with increases not exceeding 3% each quarter. January to March 2018 witnessed a slight decline of 0.5%.

Hearing aid styles show BTEs accounting for 84.8% of sales in the first quarter of 2018. Receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) dominate the BTE percentage; 71.7% of the total products sold are RICs. ITEs took 15.2% of the market, with a slightly higher percentage going through the VA than private (20.2% VA and 14.1% private sector).

Meanwhile, the British Irish Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (BIHIMA) has finally released the 2017 sales figures for the United Kingdom and Ireland. The private sector grew 6.2% in October to December 2017, compared to 2016, with growth for the full year 2017 of 4%. The NHS sector increased 12.9%, year-on-year, in the fourth quarter with 388,754 units sold in Q4. Overall growth for the NHS was 3.7% for 2017. Total market sales for 2017 show an increase of 3.8%.

Source: The Hearing Review and BIHIMA