Private sales of hearing aids in the UK and Ireland continued to grow well in the second quarter of 2019, according to results published by The British and Irish Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (BIHIMA).
Private sales were up more than 4% on Q1 with 86,250 units sold.
Overall, sales in the hearing aid market dropped in Q2 because of a huge fall in NHS sales compared to Q1.
NHS sales slumped by 24% in Q2 which is explained by the fact that there had been an unusually high volume of sales in the previous quarter, up 35%, because of NHS stockpiling in first quarter of the year in preparation for a no-deal Brexit.
This caused an inevitable drop off in Q2, with NHS units down to 329,801, BIHIMA’s report said.
The data from Ireland shows a similarly sharp drop off from the beginning of the year, with the number of units sold dropping by 18%, from 16,200 in Q1 2019 to 13,169 in Q2.
BIHIMA also tracks the trends in the styles of technology being selected by patients in the private sector.
The data shows a continued dominance of RITE (receiver in the ear) technology, now representing 75% of all sales.
Interestingly, having shown huge decline in recent years, BTE (behind the ear) devices have shown a slight improvement in 2019, holding at around 3% of market share.
However, there has been a marked decrease in the numbers of ITE (in the ear) products sold, down to 11.4% in Q2 2019 from 15.5% in the same quarter last year.
BIHIMA’s chairman Paul Surridge said: “The security of our supply chains – many of our members manufacture outside the UK – means our industry is in a robust position, even in these uncertain political times when many other markets are under threat.
“We are encouraged by the continued growth of the UK private sector, as well as by the precautionary measures taken by the NHS in their stock purchases and we anticipate the NHS market will return to full strength in the near future.”