‘Invisible’ Hearing Aids are the Future
Hearing aids are set to make big noise in the medical devices market, as innovative new technologies shrink hearing aids to turn up their cosmetic appeal, states a new report by medical devices experts GBI Research.
The new report* states that growing elderly populations, government healthcare initiatives in emerging countries, and a rise in the prevalence of acquired hearing loss is boosting the market for hearing aids. However, stigmas remain associated with the devices, and as a result near-invisible hearing aids offer the greatest cosmetic appeal and are being adopted by patients around the world.
Miniature behind-the-ear (BTE) devices, and other miniature hearing aid devices such as in-the-canal (ITC) and completely-in-the-canal (CIC) are nearly invisible, and are witnessing growing global demand. Companies are investing in R&D for these hearing aids, which are attracting customer attention as they meet the need for better speech intelligibility, improved sound quality and enhanced aesthetics, while also being robust and comfortable. A wide range of deep-fitting, invisible hearing aids offering aesthetic benefits are currently available in the market, including the iMini by Siemens, the Lyric and Phonak nano by Phonak, and the Oticon Intiga by Oticon.
GBI Research noted a positive trend in global BTE device sales, as their value increased from $2.77 billion in 2004 to $4.98 billion in 2011. The BTE hearing aids market represented more than 69% of the global digital signal processing hearing aids market in 2011. Increased demand for BTE devices is encouraged by the improved comfort, long-lasting batteries, and increased ease of wearing and removal. Companies are continuing to introduce additional features and varieties, which are expected to further increase sales.
The global hearing aid devices market was valued at $7.2 billion in 2011 and is forecast to grow to $11.3 billion by 2018 at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7%.