Hearing aids are electronic devices which are primarily used by people who suffer from impairment and losses in hearing abilities. These amplify sound for the user such that he or she can hear speech and other sounds clearer. The hearing loss may be limited as a condition in which people have decreased sensitivity to sounds that would otherwise be heard normally. In some other cases, there are a segment of people who suffer from relative insensitivity to speech related sound frequencies. The global hearing aids market has witnessed an increase in demand as a consequence of expanding geriatric population. In addition, an increase in full or partial reimbursement for these devices by the government of certain countries and the growth in prevalence of hearing loss such as nerve deafness and congenital hearing problem contribute to the increase in their demand in the global scenario.
In this industry, growth for market participant or manufactures is a direct effect of their increased involvement in retail sales and widening length and breadth of their product portfolios. The most recent growth and response in the hearing aids market has been due to the innovation which incorporated the economic consumption of Bluetooth integrated with hearing assistance applications. This has led to the fact that there is at least one wireless product offering by every major manufacturer among their product umbrellas. Innovations in the designs integrating greater functionality using wireless links will only drive market growth as greater numbers of non-users will convert to users. However optimistic the drivers for the hearing aids market may seem there are still some restraining forces for the market which pose challenges to the scenario. The key restrain is the fact that a significant amount of consolidation of the manufacturing capabilities has taken place. Development of new product with high efficiency and more shelf life and narrowing price rate are the restraining factors in the hearing aids market. Key players are implementing various strategies such as mergers & acquisitions, new product development, joint ventures, partnerships and others. Medical technology and healthcare companies are setting standards by manufacturing hearing aids with the help of various technological advancements. Companies have to face many challenges such as too many key players offering same products which may create confusion, strict regulatory legislation for fair trade practices and life expectancy of these devices.
Key products in the hearing aids market include In-The-Ear Aids (ITE), Receiver-In-The-Ear Aids (RITE), Behind-The-Ear Aids (BTE), and Canal Hearing Aids: In-The-Canal (ITC), Invisible-In-Canal (IIC), and Completely-In-Canal (CIC). These hearing aids are employed for the treatment of profound hearing loss and are a device of preference when it relates to the treatment of hearing loss in youngsters. Moreover, high prevalence of hearing loss in children is expected to serve this segment as a high impact rendering driver. Behind-the-ear hearing aids dominated the overall market in terms of share in 2013 at over 55.0%. The canal hearing aids segment is anticipated to rise at the highest CAGR during the forecast period due to the rising number of R&D initiatives aimed at performance enhancement and the increasing demand for invisible and aesthetically appealing hearing aids as a result of changing patient lifestyle habits. As per the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) 12 out of every 1,000 American suffering from hearing loss belong to the age group of below 18 years. The most popular audiology devices are in-the-ear (ITE) and behind-the-ear (BTE) due to high comfort, connectivity, easy to use and highly efficient for deafness or hearing impairment.
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Digital and analog are key technologies used across the hearing aids market. Digital hearing aid technology held the largest share of the technology market in 2013 at over 90.0% in 2013 majorly due to its relatively higher efficiency and its ability to enable the use of technological advancements such as wireless and Bluetooth technologies.
Europe accounted for the largest share of the overall hearing aids market at over 40.0% in 2013 followed by North America due to presence of large bases of geriatric population in developed Western European countries. Patients holding relatively higher purchasing powers is one of the primary factors attributing to its large share. The Asia Pacific hearing aids market is expected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period due to increasing geriatric population and age related hearing problems, improving healthcare infrastructure, high unmet medical needs, rising patient disposable incomes, growing health care expenditures and increasing awareness of advanced hearing aids devices development and adoption in emerging countries such as India and China.
The global hearing aids market is dominated by key players that include Sonova Holding AG, William Demant Holding A/S, GN Resound, Widex A/S, and Siemens AG.