UK hearing aid sales: a record year in 2013


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The British Hearing Aid Manufacturers Association (BHAMA) latest sales data show an impressive growth in hearing aid sales from UK manufacturers for 2013. The total market increased by 20% compared to 2012, with 1,464,846 units shipped during the twelve months. This is the third year in succession that the UK market has seen impressive growth figures.

The UK market is different from many markets, with the majority of hearing instruments fitted free at point of service by the National Health Service. Audiology departments in the UK purchased 1,242,837 hearing aids during 2013, an increase of 23.3% on the previous year. The overwhelming majority of these products are behind-the-ear (BTE) instruments.

In the private sector 222,009 hearing instruments were sold in 2013, which represents a 4% increase. BTEs are the biggest seller in the private sector - taking 56% market share. BTEs have experienced resurgence thanks to the increasing number of receiver-in-canal (RIC) devices available. Of the 124,418 BTEs sold to private hearing aid dispensers, more than 106,000 were RIC products. RIC sales increased by 18.7% from 2012 and now account for 48% of all products purchased privately.

Although they took a small dip in the final quarter of the year, in-the-ear (ITE) sales in the private sector totalled 97,591 units; showing a very small increase on 0.7% over 2012.

Figures are compiled by the British Hearing Aid Manufacturers Association. The Association currently comprises nine companies - Bernafon UK, GN ReSound, Oticon, Phonak, Puretone, Siemens Hearing Instruments, Starkey Laboratories, Unitron Hearing and Widex - that compete to supply hearing aids to both the independent retail and public sectors.