William Demant, corporate parent of Oticon hearing aids, has tapped the European Investment Bank (EIB) for a €110 million Euro loan ($123 million USD) to power research and development of wireless hearing aid and hearing implant technologies. It’s a vote of confidence in the Danish conglomerate, which needs new products and technology to prosper in an increasingly competitive and technology-driven global hearing health marketplace. [Read more…]
Update 2/3/2017: Kirkland Signature 7.0 was recently released. Read reviews for the KS7 Costco hearing aids.
Costco has made a quiet entry into the Made-for-iPhone hearing aid market, selling its own Kirkland-brand iPhone-compatible hearing aids for $1,799.99 a pair. The new Kirkland Signature 6.0 hearing aids, utilizing technology from Big-Six hearing aid maker GN ReSound, can receive phone calls, music, podcasts and other audio directly from Apple iPhones, iPads or iPod Touch devices without requiring an intermediate streaming device.
With an aggressive price point for advanced iPhone-compatible features, the hearing aids are Costco’s latest move to expand its footprint in the global hearing-aid market. Once a provider of entry-level hearing aids based on older generations of technology, the “big box” retailer is now pushing up-market by offering higher performance products at attractive prices. Volume purchasing agreements and low-overhead “store-within-a-store” hearing aid centers have enabled Costco to gain market share by undercutting prices charged by independent audiologists. [Read more…]
Anyone new to the hearing aid industry can be easily overwhelmed by the complex web of brands and product manufacturers. But most hearing aid buyers would like to know where their products are coming from. Hearing Tracker, the leading online review system for hearing aids and providers, has finally brought some order to the chaos with a visual snapshot of all the global hearing aid manufacturers and brands.
In a business where more than 80 percent of the products sold worldwide come from only six manufacturers (the “Big Six”), you wouldn’t necessarily expect this plethora of brands. But each of the major manufacturers owns multiple subsidiary brands, and those companies in turn sell multiple product families. Often the competing brands sell products based on identical technologies manufactured by one of the Big Six. And they don’t always let on that they are corporate subsidiaries putting their own labels on the parent company’s products. If you want to make sense of who owns what, and who sells what, in the hearing aid industry, this hugely informative infographic is a great place to start. And while you’re at it, check out Hearing Tracker’s massive directory of hearing healthcare providers and comprehensive product reviews.
We recently activated my second implant, and it’s as big a miracle as the first. In January I decided to go ahead if I qualified, and after several months of preliminary testing and insurance screening, I had successful implantation surgery on my left side on March 30. We activated the sound processor on April 14, and I could hear and understand speech immediately.
My hearing with the new cochlear implant is still not as good as on the other side with my first one, where my hearing has steadily improved in the nine months since we turned it on. But in the two weeks since activation of the left side, hearing with it has improved substantially. People’s voices, which initially sounded nasal or guttural, are starting to sound more normal. I’m hearing and identifying more high-frequency sounds. And I’m understanding speech and the TV and radio with it much better than at first. Best of all, together with my right ear, I’m hearing a full range of sound once again, in stereo. I feel more myself again. It’s truly amazing.
Even so, going ahead with the second implant was a major decision. [Read more…]
Hearing Review’s report on the 4.8 percent increase in 2014 U.S. hearing aid unit sales underscores the roles Costco and the Veterans Administration (VA) have played in driving the growth of the hearing industry. The report shows that Costco, the “big box” retailer, and the government-funded VA accounted for nearly a third of the more than three million units sold in the U.S. last year, with both channels growing three-to-five times faster than sales through independent audiologists. What makes Costco and the VA different from private independent sellers, whose growth rate was less than three percent? Lower prices, for one thing. But the fact that both the VA and Costco are delivering better products than ever before may be even more important. [Read more…]
With the conclusion of its multi-billion-dollar acquisition of Siemens AG’s audiology business Thursday, a private investment group led by EQT Partners announced a new name for the company — Sivantos Group — along with an ambitious agenda to quickly make its presence felt as one of the world’s largest independent hearing aid manufacturers.
Siemens Hearing Instruments for decades had been among the “Big Six” manufacturers that account for more than 80 percent of the world’s hearing aid sales. But it’s been five years since the parent conglomerate announced it wanted to spin off its hearing aid business, and the tortuous, stop-and-go process that finally led to yesterday’s announcement left many industry observers scratching their heads: [Read more…]
Imagine a near-invisible, in-ear wireless device that combines hi-fi listening, sensor-driven health and fitness monitoring, hands-free phone calling and user-customizable hearing enhancement into a single package no larger than a peanut. That far-off vision started coming into focus at last week’s International CES show, where wireless headphone makers gave a peak into the future of “hearables,” a new class of in-ear Internet-connected consumer products that one forecaster says will be a $17 billion global market by 2020.
IntriCon’s long-term investment in what it calls the “value hearing health market” is paying off in a big way with its recently signed agreement to distribute low-cost, high-performance hearing aid products through PC Werth Ltd in the United Kingdom. PC Werth has been appointed as one of the main suppliers to the National Health Service (NHS), the largest purchaser of hearing aids in the world, which provides an estimated 1.2 million hearing aids annually to people with hearing loss in the UK. IntriCon also announced it appointed Delain Wright, a well-known hearing industry executive, as vice president of business development to lead its foray into the value hearing health market. [Read more…]